St. Francis High football makes it eight straight

LA CAÑADA — In a game rife with plenty of statistical splendor, the St. Francis High football team’s most important statistic was the eighth win it earned.

Dominating from start to finish, the Golden Knights ran away with a 44-14 Mission League victory over Harvard-Westlake on Friday night at Friedman Field to improve to 8-0 for the program’s best start since 1966.

“It’s amazing, first 8-0 team since 1966,” said St. Francis receiver John Carroll, who had six catches for 111 yards and touchdowns of 19 and 44 yards. “Words can’t describe it.”

As big as Carroll’s day was, St. Francis running back Joe Mudie was just as impressive as he’s been all season for the Golden Knights. The senior back rushed 13 times for 220 yards and touchdowns of 69 and 66 yards. In addition, he blocked a field-goal attempt and was part of a stingy defense that allowed less than 300 total yards with the majority of it coming in the second half.

“We were clicking,” Carroll said. “Shout out to our O-line, they opened up some big holes for Joe. Joe Mudie is awesome.”

For the most part, St. Francis was awesome, scoring on its first three drives and leading throughout.

“Overall, it was a great team win,” Carroll said. “Our defense really stepped it up and gave us a short field to work with on offense.”

Quarterback Ty Gangi had three total touchdowns throwing for 134 yards and two touchdowns on nine-of-20 passing and adding a rushing score and 46 yards in eight carries. Areg Nazarian, a sophomore running back, added 65 yards rushing in just seven carries and kicker Kareem Zeenni hit three of four field goals.

St. Francis (8-0, 3-0 in league), ranked fourth in the CIF Southern Section Western Division and 37th in the state by, also avoided a possible trap against Harvard-Westlake (4-4, 0-3 in league), ranked eighth in the Western Division, by looking ahead to next week’s colossal matchup with undefeated Gardena Serra, the defending state champion and No. 1 team in the division.

St. Francis wasted little time in asserting itself, scoring on its first three drives, while Harvard-Westlake went without a first down over its first three drives.

Zeenni had three field goals in the half, while Mudie answered Harvard-Westlake’s only score with his 69-yard run on the ensuing drive.

Leading, 30-7, at the half, St. Francis scored on its first drive of the second half when Mudie went untouched up the middle for 66 yards and followed that with a one-play drive when Gangi hit Carroll over the middle for a 44-yard score to end the St. Francis scoring.

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