Football Previews: St. Francis football looks for better ending at Monrovia

The following are previews of the area's upcoming high school football games this week.

It's probably safe to say, with the dramatics from 2012, the most anticipated nonleague football game in the area in 2012 is just around the corner, as St. Francis travels to Monrovia for a 7 p.m. kickoff Friday.

Last season, the Golden Knights were on the doorstep of victory against the Wildcats at Friedman Field. With a four-point deficit, St. Francis launched a last-minute drive that reached Monrovia's one-yard line with time to spare but a quarterback sneak was fumbled and recovered by Monrovia to effectively end the game in the favor of the visitors, 17-13. Monrovia would go on to win the CIF Southern Section Mid-Valley Division title and the state championship.

“We tried to erase last year when we got started on this year, but you can't help but think about that game. It was kind of a little bit of a turning point in our season,” St. Francis Coach Jim Bonds said. “Playing them again this year brings up a lot of those feelings.”

The Golden Knights relied on their run game to improve to 4-0 and maintain their sixth ranking in the CIF Southern Section Western Division. Joe Mudie raised his season totals to 443 yards and five touchdowns on 57 carries with a 176-yard, one-score performance on 26 carries for St. Francis, which also received a big day from Areg Nazarian (85 yards, two touchdowns on three carries).

Monrovia, which is 4-0 and ranked atop its division, has relied on its run game all year, powered by senior journeyman and highly-touted running back Kurt Scoby, who's spent time at Charter Oak, St. Paul, Duarte, Cathedral and Alemany before transferring to Monrovia this summer.

Scoby is averaging 187.3 yards a game (749 yards on 73 carries) with nine touchdowns to his name. Monrovia is a run-dominant team with 138 runs to 52 pass attempts this season.

Crescenta Valley at Burroughs, 7 p.m.: Brian Gadsby has put on a quarterback clinic through four games for Crescenta Valley. The junior has completed 60 percent (66 for 110) of his passes for 1,017 yards, 18 touchdowns and no interceptions, but he and the Falcons will face the toughest defense they've seen this year at Memorial Field Friday night.

Over the past four years, Burroughs (2-2, 1-0 in league) has owned the matchup, albeit by narrow margins, with all four wins coming by an average of seven points. The Indians posted a 20-14 win at Moyse Field last year, while CV last defeated Burroughs, 34-32, in 2008.

Jordan Lobianco was the most recent of Crescenta Valley wide receivers to be highlighted last week — a 43-18 win over Pasadena to open league. With Gadsby continuing to spread the ball around for five touchdowns, Lobianco had three receptions for 102 yards and two touchdowns.

Arcadia vs. Hoover at Moyse Field, 7 p.m., Friday: There figures to be extra incentive to Friday night's game between Arcadia and Hoover, as Andrew Policky returns to face his former team after accepting the Arcadia coaching position on May 1.

Both teams are coming off tough Pacific League openers, facing the two teams favored to win the league crown. Hoover's offense was nowhere to be found in a road loss to Muir, 35-3, while Arcadia couldn't slow down Burbank's attack in a 51-14 home defeat.

Arcadia and Hoover are also both 2-2, 0-1 in league coming into the contest. The Apaches have a balanced attack with Joey Harmon under center and a stable of running backs that include Tealon Haggerty, Nico Cantos and Josh Yee.

Glendale at Muir, 7 p.m., Friday: With question marks still surrounding the availability of the Nitros’ most formidable offensive weapon, running back Daniel Jung, Glendale will look to control what it can on the road against the reigning Pacific League champions.

Glendale, whose coach John Tuttle said Jung is “day-to-day” coming into this week in an email Tuesday, saw an early lead over Burroughs quickly disappear. The Indians scored 28 unanswered points in a 35-14 victory at Moyse Field and their passing game was nearly unstoppable and produced four touchdowns.

The Nitros (2-2, 0-1) will have a tough task getting back on the same page against the Mustangs' potent offense that produced a 37-0 win against Glendale in 2012.

Arroyo at La Cañada, 7 p.m., Friday: After starting out 2-0, the Spartans have dropped consecutive games and are looking to get things back on track when they host Arroyo Friday.

La Cañada (2-2) is coming off a 35-0 loss at Eagle Rock and 42-14 home loss to rival Crescenta Valley. The Spartans have struggled to run the ball in both losses and will be challenged to solve those woes against a formidable Arroyo side.

Donnie Breneman and Mario Martinez led La Cañada's offense in the defeat with 58 and 33 rushing yards on 13 and 11 carries, respectively.

Arroyo is 3-1 this season with victories over Temple City (44-16), La Puente (41-14) and Rowland (40-14). Senior quarterback Nathan Coto leads the Knights on offense with 1,222 yards, 13 touchdowns, three interceptions and a 62 completion percentage (87 of 141).

Flintridge Prep vs. Heritage Christian at Granada Hills Saturday, 7 p.m.: While the Rebels fell to 0-4 last week in a 36-29 loss to Frazier Mountain, Prep Coach Antonio Harrison felt it was his team's best performance.

Hopes are it will also be a turning point for the Rebels, who are playing their third straight road game, against Heritage Christian at Granada Hills. The Warriors enjoyed a 19-16 win over the Rebels last year and are 2-3 this season with wins over Campbell Hall (66-0) and Ribet Academy (26-19) after a 63-42 loss to St. Genevieve.

Without its prized offensive weapon Stefan Smith available, Flintridge Prep had no quit, even with a 24-point deficit at halftime. In the 36-29 loss, the Rebels outscored Frazier Mountain 29-12 in the second half with sophomore quarterback Andrew Tsangeos, who threw two touchdowns, orchestrating the charge.

Hopes are Smith will be able to play Saturday, Harrison said in an email Tuesday, against a pass-happy Heritage Christian squad.

Warriors quarterback Jacob Padilla has completed 87 of 154 passes for 1,166 yards, 14 touchdowns and eight interceptions. Alex Alcala (442 yards, five touchdowns on 33 receptions) and Jaycee Miller (274 yards, six touchdowns on 21 catches) are Padilla’s favorite targets.

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