Throughout the season, the St. Francis High football team utilized numerous weapons on offense to average 36.6 points per game on its way to claiming a share of the Angelus League title.
The Golden Knights could always turn to versatile senior running back Kevin Armstead or junior wide receiver Bryson Reeves.
And to help them open up the offense was junior lineman Daniel Porter, who also created holes for the pass rushers on defense.
For their efforts, the trio was honored with all-Angelus League awards, as Armstead took the top accolade as the league’s most valuable player. Reeves was named the league’s most valuable offensive player and Peters was tabbed the league’s most valuable lineman.
“We’re very happy to see those three guys honored by the coaches in our league with those awards,” St. Francis coach Jim Bonds said. “I think as the season went on, it was pretty obvious that Kevin was kind of our bell cow and he was going to lead us.”
The trio helped St. Francis to an 8-3 record and a 2-1 mark in league, where the Golden Knights split the title with Cathedral High and Crespi.
After a 42-35 loss to Crespi in its league opener, St. Francis bounced back to blow out Salesian, 56-0, and then held its rival Cathedral scoreless in a 38-0 victory in the league finale.
Armstead amassed 214 carries for1,390 yards rushing and 14 touchdowns in 10 games. He also caught 22 passes for 235 yards and one touchdown and became the first St. Francis player to win the league MVP award since Golden Knights quarterback Jeremiah Martin in 2014.
“If we could establish a good running game, it would open up the play action and the quick passing game,” Bonds said. “Everything else would follow suit. He’s just a special player. It was his third year on varsity and he just runs so hard and has such good vision. It was fun coaching him and watching him mature not only as a player, but also as person.”
On the receiving end, Reeves caught 58 passes for 995 yards and 10 touchdowns. Reeves also carried the ball on occasion with six carries for 42 yards and a touchdown on the season.
“I think Bryson could’ve been awarded defense as well because he was charged with covering the other team’s best receiver all night, and then he would turn around and run routes to catch the ball all night,” Bonds said. “He just had a phenomenal year on the offensive side of the ball.”
The Golden Knights shut out their final two league opponents and outscored them, 94-0.
Porter was influential in St. Francis’ defensive success and the team’s scoring output.
“Danny is a really smart football player on the offensive side of the ball,” Bonds said. “You don’t have to tell him what to do more than one time, and then on the defensive side he’s tough to move. He’s a pretty stout guy, so we asked him to take on a lot of double teams and he did just that. He cleared the way for some of those linebackers to make those tackles.”
The Golden Knights fell, 42-14, to the 2018 CIF Southern Section Division III finalist Cajon High in the first round of the Division III playoffs. It was their lowest scoring output of the season.
Named to the all-league first team offense was junior quarterback Jack Clougherty. The Golden Knights signal-caller played all 11 games, had 149 completions in 266 attempts for 2,300 yards, 30 touchdowns and eight interceptions.
Additional first-team offense selections included Golden Knights linemen senior Aidan Flynn, sophomore Duncan Sprengal and sophomore Kenji Swanson. Kicker Jake Smith, who knocked down 40 of 43 point-after attempts and two of five field goals, with the longest being a 37-yarder, was also honored on the first team.
On the second-team offense were senior lineman Jonathan Gibbons and senior wide receiver Adam Barakat, who caught 16 passes for 240 yards and three touchdowns.
The Golden Knights also had five players earn all-league first-team defense accolades.
Senior lineman Devan Bell earned a spot after tallying 11 solo tackles and 13 assisted tackles. Bell also recorded a sack and an interception.
Golden Knights seniors Tanner Tomko and Matthew Cortes were selected as linebackers, as Tomko garnered 44 solo tackles and 13 assists, as well as 20 catches for 285 yards and seven touchdowns on offense. Cortes contributed one sack, 47 solo tackles and assisted on 24.
St. Francis sophomore Max Garrison and junior Mikey Kane were selected to the first-team as defensive backs positions. Garrison had 23 solo tackles, and on the offensive, had 46 carries for 229 yards and a touchdown with 17 catches, 294 yards and three touchdowns. Kane recorded 31 tackles and two interceptions.
On the all-defense second team, Golden Knights junior Evan Jernegan earned a nod as a lineman with one sack, 18 tackles and seven assisted. St. Francis junior Charlie Stewart was named as a linebacker with one sack, 26 tackles and eight assisted, while junior Ethan Monroe was honored as a defensive back with 12 solo tackles.