A look at the latest CIF Southern Section Western Division poll shows that four Mission League football teams are ranked in the top 10. Among those included are Chaminade High at No. 1 and St. Francis at No. 6.
St. Francis Coach Jim Bonds is aware that the Eagles occupy the top spot, but he's looking for his players to block that out of their minds when they meet Chaminade in a league road contest at 7:30 p.m. Friday.
"They are ranked No. 1 in the division if you decide to pay attention," Bonds said. "We've decided to not pay attention and anything can happen."
St. Francis (6-1, 1-1 in league) will look to bounce back from a 44-30 league loss against Gardena, ranked No. 3 in the division, on Friday night. Chaminade improved to 6-1, 2-0 with a 55-0 league victory against Harvard-Westlake.
St. Francis and Chaminade have had their share of close games in recent seasons, with the last three being decided by seven points or less. Chaminade recorded a 29-26 win last season at St. Francis and St. Francis rallied for a 32-25 win at Chaminade in 2009 on a last-minute touchdown that was caught by wide receiver Travis Talianko.
Bonds said he expects another close game.
"They are very well-coached, athletic and physical," Bonds said. "They just have some good athletes and we know we'll have our work cut our for us.
"The point of emphasis for us will be to start faster. We put ourselves in some holes last week. We want to concentrate on playing our kind of football."
St. Francis and Serra were deadlocked at 7 midway through the second quarter before the Golden Knights surrendered 24 points in the final six minutes to trail, 31-7, at halftime. St. Francis pulled to within 38-30 late in the fourth quarter, but saw Serra score a late touchdown to close out the Golden Knights.
St. Francis quarterback Jared Lebowitz completed 19 of 36 passes for 274 yards and one interception against Serra. The Golden Knights received one rushing touchdown apiece from Lebowitz and Austin De Los Santos.
The Golden Knights also lost starting defensive lineman Jose Padilla to a season-ending knee injury sustained in the first half against Serra.
Chaminade enters Friday's tilt having won four games in a row. The Eagles have outscored their last four foes — Mira Costa, Sherman Oaks Notre Dame, St. Paul and Harvard-Westlake — by a margin of 151-51.
The Eagles will be led by quarterback Logan Scott and running back Terrell Newby, who had three touchdowns against Harvard-Westlake.
Temple City at La Cañada, 7 p.m. Friday: La Cañada needs to win its final three Rio Hondo League games for a chance at making the CIF Southern Section Mid-Valley Division playoffs, after dropping its first two league games.
The good news is the Spartans are in good position to start a winning streak when they host Temple City in their third annual "Tackle Cancer" game this Friday. The Rams struggles have been worse than the Spartans' (1-6, 0-2) so far this year, as they're still winless (0-7, 0-2).
Looking at Temple City and La Cañada's common opponents, there doesn't seem to be much difference between the two teams, as both squads lost by quite similar margins at the hands of Alhambra and South Pasadena. The one exception is that the Rams were blown out by Arroyo, 48-21, in their season opener on Sept. 9 and the Spartans just lost to the Knights at home, 23-21, on Oct. 7.
La Cañada revamped its offense last week against South Pasadena, unveiling a spread offense with the return of its No. 1 quarterback Matt Jones. Jones completed 13 of 28 passes for 168 yards and three interceptions. He also ran for 103 yards and his team's lone touchdown in a 21-6 loss.
Grant Owen had five receptions for 91 yards. The Spartans also ran for 185 yards, with Franklyn Cervenka leading the way out of the backfield with five runs for 46 yards.
Temple City is a run-first team, dialing up 265 run plays, as opposed to 121 pass plays, this season. Mikal Quintanilla is the Rams' No. 1 quarterback, completing 50 of 97 passes for 865 yards, eight touchdowns and six interceptions this year.
Jamie Dea is the Rams' primary running back, going for 586 yards and four touchdowns on 126 carries this season. He had 51 yards and a touchdown on 21 carries in a 24-13 loss to San Marino Friday.
Flintridge Prep at Rio Hondo Prep, 7:30 p.m. Friday: The Rebels played their first game in three weeks Saturday, suffering a 38-7 Prep League home loss against Viewpoint at La Cañada High. Flintridge Prep didn't have enough players to field a team because of injuries, resulting in it having to forfeit a game twice this year, including the last time, which preceded a bye week. .
For the Rebels (1-5, 0-2 in league), they will look to finish up the season strong. They will have quite a test in Rio Hondo Prep (6-1, 2-0). The Kares have won six games in a row, including a 32-0 league road win against Pasadena Poly on Saturday. They have also won 16 straight league games.
Rio Hondo Prep has won seven straight games against Flintridge Prep, including a 40-0 win last season, and has limited Flintridge Prep to seven points in the last three meetings. Flintridge Prep last beat Rio Hondo Prep on Nov. 1, 2003, when it recorded a 41-0 win and then went on to capture the CIF Southern Section Division XIII championship.
Against Viewpoint, Flintridge Prep running back Kurt Kocazik recorded 69 total yards (58 rushing and 11 receiving). He came out of the game in the third quarter with a high-ankle sprain, but returned to action on the next drive.
Rio Hondo Prep got 115 yards rushing from running back Issac Holguin against Pasadena Poly.