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St. Francis, Crescenta Valley football hit road for CIF playoff openers

St. Francis, Crescenta Valley football hit road for CIF playoff openers
The St. Francis High football team will travel to Calabasas for a CIF Southern Section Division II first-round playoff game Friday. (Tim Berger | Staff Photographer)

Having seen their bids fall short to at least share a league championship in their respective leagues, the St. Francis High and Crescenta Valley football teams will now look to make some noise in the CIF Southern Section playoffs.

By not earning a share of a league title, the odds increased that St. Francis and Crescenta Valley would likely take part in first-round postseason away games.

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That’s precisely what happened after the CIF Southern Section office released its playoff brackets for all 13 divisions Sunday, leading to the Golden Knights and Falcons making travel plans.

St. Francis will head out to play at second-seeded Calabasas (8-2) in a Division II contest and Crescenta Valley will hit the road to face Warren (7-3) in Division VII action. All games are set to begin at 7:30 p.m., unless the two schools mutually agree on another time.

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St. Francis (6-4) finished second in the Angelus League behind Cathedral. Crescenta Valley (8-2) placed third in the Pacific League behind Arcadia and Burbank.

The Golden Knights wrapped up the regular season Friday with a 48-25 league home win versus Crespi. They finished 2-1 in league.

St. Francis brings back a lot of playoff experienced after reaching the Division III championship game against Rancho Verde in 2017.

“It’s big to have that kind of experience and the older players have a chance to pass it on to the younger players,” St. Francis coach Jim Bonds said. “We feel good about ourselves and we’ve grown up a lot these last few games.

“It’s going to be a good test playing Calabasas. I saw them play Oaks Christian on TV last month. I came away impressed with their quarterback [Jaden Casey]. He’s got a good arm and can run, too. It’s hard to compare watching a game on TV compared to watching film.”

St. Francis quarterback Darius Perrantes, the reigning All-Area Football Player of the Year, completed seven of 18 passes for 138 yards and two touchdowns in three quarters against Crespi. Running back Kevin Armstead rushed for 215 yards in 20 carries and scored twice for the Golden Knights, who received two touchdowns, including one for a 64-yard punt return, by Bryson Reeves.

Perrantes has completed 131 of 260 passes for 2,190 yards and 20 touchdowns and eight interceptions in nine games. Armstead has rushed for 917 yards in 130 carries and 11 touchdowns.

For Calabasas, Casey has passed for more than 2,100 yards and 25 touchdowns for the Coyotes, who finished second in the Marmonte League behind Oaks Christian.

Calabasas posted a 44-16 league home victory against St,. Bonaventure on Friday. The Coyotes went 4-1 in league and won eight of their last nine contests.

Calabasas has plenty of championship pedigree, having won CIF titles in 2015 and 2016.

St. Francis and Calabasas will meet for the first time since Oct. 2, 2015, when the Golden Knights suffered a 34-0 nonleague road loss.

The St. Francis-Calabasas winner will meet San Juan Hills (7-3) or Edison (5-5) in a quarterfinal game Nov. 9.

Crescenta Valley will be in search of its first playoff victory since 2014, when it beat Downey in the Southeast Division championship game. Since then, Crescenta Valley has lost first-round games against Cathedral, Saugus and Mira Costa.

Crescenta Valley concluded the regular season with a 43-10 league loss Friday versus rival Arcadia.

Crescenta Valley will seek to get back on track against Warren, which finished second in the San Gabriel Valley League behind Paramount.

The Falcons have been led by standout quarterback Cole Doyle, who has thrown 14 touchdown passes and passed for more than 1,900 yards. Doyle has rushed for 23 touchdowns and more than 1,300 yards.

Warren counters with quarterback Chris Venegas, who has completed 150 of 218 passes for 2,399 yards and 34 touchdowns. He’s rushed for six touchdowns and 554 yards in 63 carries.

“They have a very good team and easily could have been a seeded team in our division,” said Falcons coach Paul Schilling, who led the Falcons to the CIF title in 2014. “They are loaded and their quarterback is a lot like Cole with the way he can pass and run.

“We’re a little bit beat up from the loss to Arcadia, but you always look forward to being a part of the playoffs.”

The winner of the Crescenta Valley-Warren contest will face top-seeded Northview (10-0) or Santa Ynez (6-4) in a quarterfinal tilt Nov. 9.

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