Coach Brad Miller and his Flintridge Prep Rebels concluded their 2005 football season with a close 34-20 loss to host Anza Hamilton High, on Nov. 18 in the first round of the CIF Southern Section Division VIII playoffs.
For the Rebels, their season was filled with many ups and downs. However, they did make it into postseason play, but exited after the first round to finish with a 4-5 overall record.
The Rebels began things with their Sept. 10 season opener at Duarte High against the Viewpoint Patriots. This was an extremely tight match for most of the night, which finally concluded with a spectacular catch by Matt Stein on a 30-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Joe Farewell. A two point conversion was successful, to give the Rebels a 15-12 win in their first nonleague contest. The Rebels scored their other TD on a two-yard run by Farewell.
The Rebels' one-game winning streak was stopped on Sept. 17 at Temple City High as host Maranatha shut out Prep, 20-0.
The Rebels were matched up against a squad that had finished runner up in their divisional playoffs. The night ended with no Rebel ever crossing the goal line as the Minutemen won their third preseason game in a row. Prep's record fell to 1-1.
The Rebels recovered their winning ways against visiting Burbank rival Bell-Jeff at Duarte High on Sept. 24. A 21-12 win for the Rebels was never in doubt, as Prep held the lead for the entire night. Prep scored its three TDs on a 88-yard run and 65-yard run by Zachary Goldstein and a six-yard run by Matt Stein.
A Sept. 30 game at Verdugo Hills High was postponed due to unhealthy weather conditions resulting from local wild fires and the contest was never rescheduled.
If Maranatha was a problem for the Rebels, it was nothing compared to what awaited them on Oct. 8 at Duarte High in a match against Orange County's St. Margaret's High.
The Titans would have no mercy on the Rebels. Prep didn't get shut out in this game, they managed to score nine points, but it was far from enough as the Titans trounced them, 29-9, for their fifth victory of the preseason.
The Rebels scored on a 17-yard field goal by Gary Au and a 70-yard run by Goldstein. The loss dropped Prep to 2-2.
Perhaps the most exciting game of the season for the Rebels came in its Prep League opener at Palos Verdes Chadwick on Oct. 15.
Trailing 7-0, Prep ran two reversal plays into TDs that gave them a 14-7 lead over the Dolphins. Running back Stein scored on a 49-yard run and Alex Clayton scored on another running play. Then running back Goldstein, who had been quiet for three quarters, turned his power on and exploded with two TD runs of six and 62 yards in the fourth quarter. Chadwick managed to score one more time to close the gap to 28-14, but it was not enough, as the 3-2 Rebels started their quest for the league title with a 1-0 record.
But the next game on Oct. 21 was on the road against a tough opponent, Rio Hondo Prep. This was a team that specializes both in a strong throwing quarterback and an excellent running game that gave the Kares a dominating 30-14 lead at one point.
The Rebels staged a comeback, but luck and time would run out on the Rebels, as Rio Hondo won a close game, 30-22. Prep fell to 3-3 overall and to 1-1 in league.
The Rebels' scoring was highlighted by two long kickoff returns for TDs by Clayton, including one for 98 yards and the other for 87 yards. Farewell also connected with Zak Zalehipour for an end zone TD. Stein also scored on a two-point conversion run.
La Cañada High was the site for Prep's Homecoming game against Pasadena Poly on Oct. 29. Every player wants to win this game, especially if they were in their senior year and on their home field.
But the Homecoming contest turned out to be one of the worse games played by the Rebels this year as they turned the ball over several times to lose to rival Poly, 41-7. The Rebels dropped to 3-4 overall and to 1-2 in league.
Prep's only score came on a five-yard run by Nick Ziemann in the first quarter to give the Rebels a brief 7-0 lead after a successful extra point kick.
This loss was especially disappointing for Coach Miller, who just a year earlier, had helped the Panthers get into the CIF playoffs.
With another bye the following week, the Rebels had only one game left at Duarte High against Webb School on Nov. 11. It was quite simple: If they won, they would be one of the last teams in the conference to go to the playoffs, and if they lost, it was the end of the season.
However, the Rebels did not disappoint. In perhaps their best game since Chadwick, they dominated from start to finish, in a 48-7 romp that guaranteed them their first postseason appearance in several years. Prep improved to 4-4 overall and finished in third place in the Prep League with a 2-2 mark.
Stein scored four times in the game on runs of 22, 71, five and 11 yards. Ziemann added two other TDs on runs of two and 26 yards. The last TD came on a 12-yard pass from Farewell to Brady Thomson. Au made good on six of seven point after attempts.
For their CIF first round game, the Rebels had to travel more than 200 miles round trip to meet 7-3 Anza Hamilton.
The Bobcats, who won the Big Sky League, led 21-0 at halftime and cruised to the 34-20 victory. Prep finished 4-5 overall.
The Rebels' three TDs came on two passes from Farewell to Clayton and Thomson and a rush by Stein.
Considering their post season loss, Miller can be commended for getting the Rebels to a better record than the 2-6 mark they had last year. The team won't have too many players leaving due to graduation. Starter Stein will depart, as will kicker Au, but returning will be both juniors Farewell and Goldstein.
In addition, underclassman help is on the way. After a perfect season, the junior varsity team could give coaches Miller, along with his assistants Glen Beattie and Tom Fry, some new talent that could carry them farther than they went this year.Photo by Ralph Saenz(LA)SPARTANS HONORED -- La Cañada senior David Hopkins has been named co-MVP in football in All-Rio Hondo league selections announced this week. Teammate Spencer Tompkins was also named co-Defensive Lineman of the Year. Both Devon Borisoff and Gamal Rady were named co-MVP in boys' water polo.