LA CAÑADA — After an impressive two-touchdown comeback late in the fourth quarter, the St. Francis High football appeared to have the momentum.
Unfortunately for the Golden Knights, they never had possession of the ball again in a nonleague game against Paraclete on Friday night.
Henry Ikahihifo caught a three-yard touchdown pass from Marshall Saul with 8.5 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter to turn back host St. Francis, 56-49, at Friedman Field.
St. Francis (4-3) overcame a 49-35 deficit inside the last seven minutes before falling in a heartbreaker.
Bryson Reeves caught a 16-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Darius Perrantes to pull the Golden Knights to within 49-42 with 6:48 remaining.
St. Francis’ Will Stewart hauled in a 13-yard touchdown pass from Perrantes with 2:51 to go to tie it at 49 before Paraclete (3-5) embarked on its winning drive.
Perrantes, the reigning All-Area Football Player of the Year who helped St. Francis reach the CIF Southern Section Division III title game in 2017, completed 25 of 41 passes for 426 yards and five touchdowns.
Paraclete, which captured the Division V championship last season versus Moorpark, saw Saul complete 23 of 35 passes for 328 yards and four touchdowns.
Paraclete opened the scoring on a 12-yard touchdown run from Nicholas Wyatt with 11:08 left in the first quarter.
The Spirits extended the lead to 14-0 with a one-yard run by Saul with 59.8 seconds to go in the opening quarter.
St. Francis trimmed the lead to 14-7 on a 23-yard touchdown pass from Perrantes to Kevin Armstead with 10:52 to play in the second quarter.
Saul tossed a 15-yard touchdown pass to Dawit Wasse with 6:47 remaining in the second quarter to give Paraclete a 21-7 lead.
The Spirits closed out the first-half scoring with 18.4 seconds left on a two-yard run from Xavier Ochoa-Rico.
St. Francis closed to within 28-14 on a 24-yard touchdown pass from Perrantes to Carson Okland with 7:55 to go in the third quarter.
Max Garrison scored on an eight-yard run to pull the Golden Knights to within 28-21 with 6:54 left in the third quarter.
Paraclete responded on the ensuing possession on an 80-yard touchdown pass from Saul to Jaylen Sargent with 6:39 to go in the quarter to make it 35-21.
St. Francis came right back on its next possession, capped by a two-yard touchdown run by Armstead to trim the deficit to 35-28 with 5:09 remaining.
Saul connected with Justin Haywood on a 39-yard touchdown pass to give the Spirits a 42-28 lead with 2:08 to go in the third quarter.
Reeves caught a six-yard touchdown pass from Perrantes to bring the Golden Knights to within 42-35 on the first play from scrimmage in the fourth quarter.
Ochoa-Rico scored on a 46-yard touchdown run to give Paraclete a 49-35 advantage with 10:13 remaining in the fourth quarter.
Armstead caught six passes for 104 yards and Reeves had seven receptions for 88 yards. Perrantes rushed for 87 yards in seven carries.
Saul rushed for 85 yards in 15 carries for Paraclete, which got 150 yards rushing in eight carries from Ochoa-Rico. Ikahihifo finished with four catches for 70 yards. Paraclete’s Isaiah Navarro had a first-half interception.
St. Francis will begin Angelus League action at 7 p.m. Friday against visiting Salesian. St. Francis finished second in league last season behind Cathedral.