Knights win and they're in

GLENDALE — A familiar situation faces the St. Francis High football team this week.

Just as was the case in the two weeks prior, the Golden Knights find themselves facing a Mission League foe with a victory needed to assure itself an automatic playoff berth.

And just as was the case two seasons ago, St. Francis finds itself needing a win over a league-winless opponent to clinch. But two seasons ago, the Golden Knights fell short. And last week, the Golden Knights survived a scare in a 28-21 win over Cathedral.

Coach Jim Bonds is well-aware that his team can't look past Harvard-Westlake on Friday, when the Wolverines host the Golden Knights at 7:30 p.m. in a regular-season finale.

"We have won our last two games, but we are not taking anything for granted," said Bonds at Tuesday's Glendale YMCA Quarterback Club. "We've had our backs to the wall these last two games and our playoffs began two weeks ago."

Two weeks ago, St. Francis (5-4, 2-2 in league) began a two-game winning streak as it ended a four-game losing skid. Harvard-Westlake (2-6-1, 0-4) is on a five-game losing streak, but is coming off a narrow 30-28 loss to St. Paul and also lost a close game to Cathedral.

"Harvard-Westlake has lost two very close games and we've told our guys not to look at their record," said Bonds, whose running game has been reinvigorated by Austin De Los Santos and whose passing game has been led all season by quarterback Brett Nelson and two-way starter Travis Talianko. "We need to play the way we are capable of playing, so we want to go there and come out with a win and go to the playoffs."

Flintridge Prep at Webb, 2 p.m. Friday: Any shot at the postseason was cast to the side weeks prior for the Rebels, but first-year Coach Antonio Harrison's squad still has a very good chance at ending its season on a winning note.

Flintridge Prep will take on Webb in both teams' Prep League finale, hoping to continue the trend of a rivalry that's historically slanted in the Rebels' favor.

Prep (1-6-1, 1-3 in league) is coming off its first victory of the season, a 35-0 trouncing of Viewpoint.

Chris Wirthlin led the way with 124 yards rushing and two touchdowns in 10 carries, while two-way starter Eric Kazangian added 116 yards and a score, as well.

Webb (3-5-1, 0-3-1), however, is winless in its last four games and tied Viewpoint, 36-36, in the teams' head-to-head matchup.

Crescenta Valley at Arcadia, 7 p.m. Friday: With hope of a playoff berth having been expunged, the Falcons likely still have plenty of motive in terms of playing spoiler against the archrival Apaches, who are playing for a share of the Pacific League title.

Motivated or not, the Falcons (4-5, 3-4 in league) must still shake off the effects of their current four-game losing streak that included last week's 39-26 loss to Burbank. Arcadia (6-3, 5-1), meanwhile, is riding a three-game winning streak that began with a 48-20 victory against Burbank, which shares the lead in the standing with the Apaches and Burroughs.

Should Arcadia win, it will assure itself a share of the league title. A Crescenta Valley win would be the third in a row for the Falcons in the rivalry.

For that to happen, it's likely the Falcons will need to play ball-control offense and cut down on turnovers and penalties. Despite a season-ending injury to Marro Lee in the fifth game of the season, he's still the team's leading rusher with 549 yards, as the Paul Perugini-quarterbacked offense has struggled to find a groove in the running game. Both Mark Sereno and Sean Johnson have shown flashes of being able to take over the reins, but Johnson was also lost to injury, leaving the load to Sereno.

In contrast, the Apaches' offense has been a volatile one, having scored more than 40 points five times this season and in each of its last three wins. Quarterback Myles Carr, running back Sheldon McKinley and receiver Taylor Lagace have all been formidable weapons.

Editor's Note: A preview for the Glendale-Hoover football game will run in Friday's edition.

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