GLENDALE — The following are previews of the area's upcoming high school football games this week.
Three straight losses have put the St. Francis High football team in a precarious position as it plays host to Chaminade, the No. 2 team in the CIF Southern Section Western Division, on Friday night at 7:30 p.m. in a crucial Mission League contest.
While another loss for the Golden Knights (3-3, 0-1 in league) won't exactly put their playoff hopes in dire straits, another defeat would likely expunge any hopes of claiming one of the top two spots in league and would continue and unfortunate tailspin for St. Francis.
Looking to rebound against Chaminade (6-0, 1-0) will be a tall task, as the Eagles have historically posed a huge problem for the Golden Knights. St. Francis rallied for a 32-25 win last season, as the last three meetings have been decided by seven points or less. Still, Chaminade has won four of the last five meetings.
Chaminade is coming off a 45-24 win over Harvard-Westlake and is led by running backs Tru Jarvis (426 yards, 10 touchdowns) and Terrell Newby (369 yards, 4 TDs).
A positive for St. Francis is the likely return of running backs Michael Melnick and Austin De Los Santos and standout left tackle Patrick Carroll. All three missed last week's 41-14 loss to Serra, with Carroll having missed the last three games overall.
One constant for St. Francis has been the terrific play of quarterback Brett Nelson, who had a passing touchdown and a rushing score against Serra and leads St. Francis with 18 passing touchdowns and four rushing touchdowns.
Glendale at Burroughs (7 p.m. Thursday): The Nitros are coming off a discouraging defeat after watching a winnable game against Pasadena last week end in a 26-13 loss, while the Indians are coming off an emotional 21-14 win in overtime over Arcadia.
And, in a way it's indicative of the two team's seasons as a whole, as Glendale is winless in six games on the season and defending co-champion Burroughs (3-3) is once again off to a strong 3-0 start in league.
Behind the rushing attack of Chan Kim and quarterback Alex Yoon, who scored the team's two touchdowns last week, the Nitros led the Bulldogs in the third quarter last week. But the biggest challenge this week may be getting out of the first quarter in good shape, as the Indians are capable of putting up points quickly behind quarterback Lucas Yanez and running back Tadeo Zuniga.
Crescenta Valley vs. Pasadena (7 p.m. Friday) at Moyse Field: After opening league with big wins over Glendale and Hoover, both winless in league thus far, the Falcons (4-2, 2-1) encountered their first speed bump with a 39-16 loss at Muir on Friday.
The fallout from that game included a shakeup at the quarterback position, as Paul Perugini replaced Zac Wilkerson under center in the second half and played effectively down the stretch, completing five of seven attempts for 74 yards and a touchdown.
Perugini will start at quarterback Friday and Wilkerson will shift to wide receiver while also playing cornerback as CV looks to get back on track against the Bulldogs (2-4, 1-2 in league).
And, while the Falcons will continue to try to find their running game after leading rusher Marro Lee went down with a thumb injury, their defense will have a challenge in stopping Pasadena's Cleo Bates, who had 13 carries for 118 yards and three touchdowns against Glendale.
Hoover at Muir (7 p.m. Friday): The Tornadoes have had an extra long week to prepare for a Pacific League matchup with the Mustangs, having last played on Oct. 14 in a 56-0 loss to Burbank, and they were likely glad to have it.
Aside from the psychological toll of suffering their most lopsided loss of the season, the Tornadoes also lost quarterback AJ Pule for the second half last week due to possible concussion-like symptoms.
Hoover (1-5, 0-3) will need Pule's playmaking ability to have a chance to match Muir's quick-strike offense score for score, or at the very least keep drives going to deny the Mustangs the ball.
Last week, the Mustangs (2-4, 1-2) notched their first league victory with a fairly easy win over Crescenta Valley, which handed Hoover a 62-28 loss on Oct. 8.
Flintridge Prep vs. Rio Hondo Prep (7 p.m. Saturday) at La Cañada High: Last week, the Rebels showed they could hang with the top-ranked team in the Northeast Division, taking a tie score with visiting Chadwick into the fourth quarter in the Prep League opener.
Unfortunately for Prep, it also repeated a trend of struggling to close out games, as the Dolphins pulled away in the fourth quarter for a 33-19 win that sent the Rebels to 0-4-1, 0-1. Now, the Rebels get what may be an even stiffer test in reigning Prep League champion Rio Hondo, ranked fourth in the division, which brings a 4-1 record into its league debut.
The Kares will pose a challenge for Prep's defensive line, as they enter the game with three players with over 300 yards rushing on the season in Charles Quintero (426 yards), Nick Preciado (401) and Alex Tayco (318).
Prep will be without two-way starter Lucas Kim, who suffered a serious MCL injury against Chadwick, and top receiver Jared Norsworthy, who will be suspended this week for getting ejected late against the Dolphins.