WOODLAND HILLS — The Flintridge Prep eight-man football team was neck-and-neck with Milken Community in the first half of the teams’ Prep League matchup at L.A. Pierce College on Thursday.
The teams were tied early in the first quarter before the Rebels regained the lead. But the Wildcats remained close throughout the first half.
In the second half, however, the Flintridge Prep defense figured things out and shut out Milken in the final two quarters on its way to a 68-20 league win at Shephard Stadium.
“This team understands what they’re capable of doing,” Flintridge Prep head coach Russell White said. “I don’t have to say anything. They know what they’re suppose to do. They know what things they need to do to be successful, so it wasn’t a coach’s conversation.
“I have great leadership on this team and they figured it out.”
White’s defense forced three turnovers that included an interception returned for a 41-yard touchdown courtesy of freshman John Stetson. The Rebels also recorded three sacks in the second half.
“We played hard and all facets pretty much came together, for the most part, tonight and we got a chance to see other people step up,” White said.
The Rebels (4-3, 1-1 in league) snapped a two-game losing streak and claimed their first league win in the newly formed league.
“We came in here with a lot of confidence,” Stetson said. “We thought we were going to blow these guys out and the fact that they scored two touchdowns angered us.”
Rebels running back Alex Payne scored four touchdowns on the ground in 20 carries and amassed 151 yards.
“We came in the game knowing that this is what should happen, and we weren’t really executing,” Payne said. “We finally got into the flow and rhythm of executing.”
Flintridge Prep quarterback John Lytle completed six of 10 passes for 155 yards and three touchdowns, including a 58-yard reception by received Zach Kim for a go-ahead touchdown and a 22-14 lead.
The Rebels and Wildcats traded scores early in the game and were tied at 14 prior to the 58-yard touchdown.
The Rebels started to pull away after Payne scored his third touchdown on a 10-yard run for a 30-14 advantage after a two-point conversion.
Milken (4-4, 0-2) last scored with 5:41 left in the first half on a 20-yard pass to cut the Flintridge Prep lead to 30-20.
The Rebels tacked on another score before halftime to make it 38-20 following a 30-yard touchdown reception by Max Gitlin.
The Wildcats scored all three of their touchdowns off pass plays in the first half, but only completed one pass in four attempts in the second half.
The Rebels shed off nearly three minutes on their opening drive of the third quarter and scored on a 24-yard connection between Lytle and Charlie McCormick to make it a 46-20.
Stetson returned an interception for a 41-yard touchdown on the Wildcats’ first possession of the second half for a 54-20 lead before the Rebels defense forced a turnover on downs on Milken’s second drive.
Payne scored his fourth touchdown on the ensuing Rebels possession to make it 61-20 with 1:58 left in the third quarter.