LA CANADA FLINTRIDGE – Through the dark days of four weeks of consecutive defeats, the St. Francis High football team emerged on Friday night under the lights of Friedman Field.
Bolstered by a stellar defensive effort throughout and an offensive surge that keyed a 30-point third-quarter blitzkrieg, the Golden Knights kept their playoff hopes alive, seemingly righted their ship and trounced Mission League nemesis St. Paul, 40-10, all in one fell swoop.
“It makes you just not take winning for granted,” said Golden Knights Coach Jim Bonds, whose team snapped a four-game losing streak to improve to 4-4 and 1-2 in league with the win over the Swordsmen (5-3, 1-2), the eighth-ranked team in the CIF Southern Section Western Division. “I can’t remember ever being on a four-game losing streak. It was good just to get back on the winning track. The feeling was night and day. That’s what I told the guys after the game; remember how you felt the last four weeks, compared to how you feel now.”
Linebacker Luke Anderson, who’s also St. Francis’ fullback and scored its first touchdown of the night to give the Golden Knights at 7-3 lead, had one of three sacks for St. Francis and one of its three takeaways with a second-half interception as the defense allowed just 139 yards of total offense to St. Paul.
Golden Knights quarterback Brett Nelson had 284 yards passing, two touchdowns and one interception as he completed 15 of 28 passes, though the offense proved stagnant through the first 24 minutes before erupting in the game-changing third quarter.
“We came out slow. We always seem to shoot ourselves in the foot, that’s a thing we’re still trying to fix,” said Nelson, who hooked up with Travis Talianko on a 14-yard touchdown to open the second half and connected with Ian Hamilton on a highlight reel 69-yard scoring play to end St. Francis’ offensive blitz. “When we get going, we’re obviously a volatile offense.”