Knights ready to tackle Mission

The members of the St. Francis High football team more than held their own during the nonleague portion of their schedule, going 5-0 and limiting opponents to 6.8 points per game.

Looking to replicate that in the Mission League might be a tall order, though the Golden Knights appear to be up to the challenge.

St. Francis will get its first look at a league opponent when it meets visiting Harvard-Westlake in a league opener at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Friedman Field. The Golden Knights are ranked No. 4 in the latest CIF Southern Section Western Division poll and one of four league teams earning a top-10 ranking. Harvard-Westlake (4-1) isn't among those squads that have warranted a ranking, but St. Francis Coach Jim Bonds knows better.

"They are just outside of being ranked and we know they are good," said Bonds, whose team posted a 34-14 road win last season against the Wolverines. "From a physical standpoint, it might be a better matchup for us.

"Athletically, it's pretty even. Both teams have a lot of speed and we have our work cut out."

The Golden Knights opened the season with wins against Arcadia, Crescenta Valley, Venice, West Ranch and Paso Robles. The Golden Knights are 3-0 at home and will wrap up a three-game homestand Friday with their homecoming game.

St. Francis senior linebacker Joey Dowling recorded a team-best 12 tackles and two sacks against Paso Robles. Teammates Ryan McAleenan and Luke Anderson each collected eight tackles.

Bonds said he expects Harvard-Westlake, which has recorded intersectional victories against Fairfax, Leuzinger, Sylmar and El Camino Real and a loss against Venice, to continue clinking with its spread offense.

"Our defense will be tested," said Bonds, whose team blanked Crescenta Valley and West Ranch. "They have a lot of guys on offense who can do things.

"We were in a lot of shootouts last year and that hasn't been the case this year. We've been getting a lot of turnovers. We feel like we need to be able to take advantage of that again."

The Golden Knights saw quarterback Jared Lebowitz complete 13 of 23 passes for 132 yards against Paso Robles. Running back Austin De Los Santos rushed for 67 yards in 15 carries and Daniel Kawamura rushed for 60 yards and one touchdown in 11 carries.

Harvard-Westlake got a standout effort from quarterback Chad Kanoff, who completed 25 of 37 passes for 372 yards and four touchdowns en route to a 39-31 home win against El Camino Real. Wide receiver Clinton Hooks caught 11 passes for 102 yards and one touchdown.

The Wolverines also got a game-high 17 tackles from linebacker Alex Cadiff.

"We are a lot healthier this year than last year," said Harvard-Westlake Coach Vic Eumont, whose team is averaging 43 points per game. "We are coming off a game against El Camino Real, which was a big and physical team that's a lot like St. Francis.

"We are going to have our work cut out against St. Francis. It's going to come down to making the fewest mistakes and having a good game plan in place.

"Chad has done a good job getting the ball to everyone. We've had guys in the right spot who have been able to execute well. It's a tough league again and anybody can win it. Anybody can finish last and you are still going to have a good team. It's just about being able to make the right plays at the right time."

Burroughs at Glendale, 7 p.m. today: Though it hasn't recorded a Pacific League win, Glendale has been anything but a pushover in league losses against Burbank and Pasadena. The Nitros will have their hands full when they meet Burroughs (2-3, 2-0). Burroughs has shared two consecutive league titles and will present a big challenge for the Nitros.

However, Glendale has showed it can score its share of points. The Nitros suffered a last-minute 47-46 road loss against Pasadena despite getting the usual quality efforts from quarterback Evan Norton, wide receiver Mike Davis and running back Alex Yoon.

The trio will look to continue its success against Burroughs, which has won two games in a row. Against Pasadena, Norton completed 24 of 41 passes for a school-record 465 passing yards and three touchdowns. Davis had 12 receptions for 236 yards, 21 yards shy of the school record. Yoon had 225 total yards, including 103 on the ground.

Burroughs has averaged 45 points per game against Pasadena and Arcadia. Burroughs came through Friday with a 41-29 road win against Arcadia, which shared the league title last season and entered the season as the prohibitive favorite to grab the league crown.

The Indians figure to hand the ball off to standout senior running back Zander Anding, who has rushed for more than 1,100 yards this season.

The elusive Anding rushed for 302 yards in 33 carries and five touchdowns against Arcadia. Four touchdowns came in the second half, and his scores came on runs of 19, 20, 15, two and one yard. It marked the second consecutive week that Anding rushed for more than 300 yards.

Burroughs earned a 35-6 win against Glendale last season.

Crescenta Valley at Pasadena, 7 p.m. Friday: The Falcons continue to impress, going 4-1 in the first half of the season. More importantly, Crescenta Valley is 2-0 in league and ranked ninth in the latest CIF Southeast Division poll. The league wins have come against Hoover and Muir, the latter being a 27-20 home win last week.

While Muir might be a better defensive team than Pasadena, the Bulldogs (2-3, 1-1) will look to provide problems when they have the ball against the Falcons.

Pasadena will be led by starting quarterback Brandon Cox, who passed for 386 yards and three touchdowns to wide receiver Riian Simpson against Glendale. Wide receiver Marcus Green caught seven passes for 126 yards versus the Nitros.

The Falcons will look to counter with wide receiver/defensive back Nick Ruiz and running back Marro Lee. Against Muir, Ruiz collected two interceptions and also caught four passes for 114 yards and one touchdown. Lee had 115 yards in 26 carries and a pair of touchdowns.

Crescenta Valley will be aiming for some revenge against Pasadena following last season's 21-14 home loss.

Muir vs. Hoover at Glendale High's Moyse Field, 7 p.m. Friday: Hoover will look to accomplish a couple of things during its Pacific League contest. The first will be to avoid being shutout for a third consecutive game. The other will be to collect its first win.

The Tornadoes (0-5, 0-2 in league) have lost 12 games in a row and will have another tough assignment in Muir (2-3, 0-2). The Mustangs netted a 54-0 home win last season against the Tornadoes.

The Tornadoes have been shut out four times since their last victory, which came Sept. 24, 2010, against Mountain View.

Hoover is coming off a 48-0 league home loss against Burbank at Moyse Field. It will look to improve on its offense, as quarterback Alex Rangel completed two of six passes for two yards. The Tornadoes were led in rushing by Hovo Navasardyan, who had 40 yards on eight carries.

Muir will make its second straight visit to Moyse Field and will look to reverse its fortunes. Crescenta Valley handed Muir a 27-20 league loss on Friday. Muir quarterback Joshua Muema-Washington had a touchdown toss to wide receiver Kevon Seymour in the Crescenta Valley contest.

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