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St. Francis football ends regular season with big win against Crespi

LA CAÑADA — Heading into its final game of the regular season, the St. Francis High football team had two goals it looked to reach.

The Golden Knights looked to get back on track with a victory, while also seeking for a piece of the Angelus League championship.

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Though St. Francis saw its bid to gain a split of the league crown, it got four touchdowns in the second quarter en route to a 48-25 home league win against Crespi at Friedman Field on Friday.

St. Francis (6-4, 2-1 in league) finished runner-up to Cathedral (3-0 in league). Cathedral defeated Salesian, 42-13, on Friday after topping St. Francis a week earlier. The playoff pairings will be unveiled Sunday.

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St. Francis, which advanced to the CIF Southern Section Division III championship game last season before being shifted to Division II after the CIF Southern Section office realigned the 13 divisions, scored 28 second-quarter points Friday to break away from Crespi (3-7, 0-3).

St. Francis received huge efforts from Byrson Reeves and Kevin Armstead. Reeves caught a touchdown pass and scored on a punt return and Armstead rushed for 215 yards in 20 carries and scored two touchdowns.

“It’s good to finish league up with a win and you just try to gain some momentum for the playoffs,” said St. Francis coach Jim Bonds, the reigning All-Area Football Coach of the Year. “We knew coming in that we were heading to the playoffs We feel good about where we are now.

“Bryson had another huge game and he’s gotten so much better over the last few games. And we got another great effort on the ground from Kevin. Those are two very good players to have.”

Cresi took a 3-0 lead on a 28-yard field goal by Christopher Salerno with 6:18 left in the first quarter.

St. Francis responded with a seven-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Darius Perrantes (seven of 18 for 138 yards and two touchdowns) to Reeves with 1:15 to go in the first quarter.

St. Francis turned in an impressive second-quarter effort.

The Golden Knights made it 14-3 on a 26-yard touchdown pass from Perrantes to Jacob Buntich on the first play of the quarter.

St. Francis extended the lead to 21-3 on a 64-yard punt return by Reeves with 10:10 to go.

The Golden Knights then received a 11-yard touchdown run from Armstead to make it 28-3 with 5:37 left in the second quarter.

St. Francis closed out the first-half scoring on an 11-yard run by Perrantes with 2:52 to go to make it 35-3.

“I think we started to come on strong late in the first quarter and then we had things going well the rest of the half,” Bonds said.

The Celts trimmed the deficit to 35-10 on a 15-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Diego Tapia to Nicholas Garcia with 7:44 remaining in the third quarter.

A 22-yard field goal by Will Stewart gave the Golden Knights a 38-10 lead with 7.6 seconds left in the third quarter.

Tapi brought the Celts to within 38-18 on a 64-yard run, followed by a two-point conversion on a pass from Tapia to Jackson White, with 11:34 to go in the fourth quarter.

Tapia then found Whiite on a six-yard touchdown pass to trim the deficit to 38-25 with 10:44 to go after the Celts recovered the onside kick.

St. Francis’ Jake Smith converted on a 38-yard field goal to give the Golden Knights a 41-25 lead with 5:29 to play.

St. Francis concluded the scoring on a one-yard run from Armstead with 1:21 remaining.

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