LOS ANGELES — In its Angelus League football showdown against host Cathedral on Saturday night, St. Francis High immediately got things rolling.
In a crucial battle for first place in league, the Golden Knights struck first and forced two turnovers in the first quarter, but couldn’t convert those chances.
In the end, Cathedral overwhelmed St. Francis in the second and third quarters to win, 31-17, and claim at least a share of the league title.
“They battled,” St. Francis head coach Jim Bonds said. “We had a few missed opportunity where we just couldn’t convert in the red zone. The score might’ve been a little closer, might’ve been a little different story. It’s a good football team. I thought we gave it our best effort and came up short.”
The loss for St. Francis (5-1, 1-1 in league) puts it in a tie for second place in the four-team league with Salesian (3-6, 1-1) with one game remaining. Cathedral (7-2, 2-0), the defending league champion, takes over sole possession of first place.
The Phantoms opened the second half with a 38-yard touchdown run and later intercepted a Golden Knights pass with 2:38 left in the third frame to go up by two scores, 31-17.
“The offense made some adjustments and they went more man with pressure,” Bonds said. “We just sputtered right there in the third.”
St. Francis had a chance to score in the fourth quarter and cut it to a one-possession game, but its 5:58 minute drive ended on a turnover on downs on the Cathedral 4-yard line.
“They’ve got a few good athletes over there,” Bonds said. “We did our best. I give our guys a lot of credit for not quitting and battling until the very end.”
St. Francis quarterback Darius Perrantes completed 16 of 32 passes for 180 yards and an interception, with his top target being Tanner Tomko, who finished with nine receptions and 104 yards.
Perrantes opened the scoring on an 18-yard run with 9:31 remaining in the first quarter for the 7-0 lead and finished with four carries on 37 yards.
Running back Kevin Armstead led the ground game with 24 carries for 92 yards and a touchdown, that coming in the second quarter with 4:10 left to tie the score at 14.
The Golden Knights forced a Phantoms fumble at he 7:13 mark in the first on Cathedral’s opening drive, but couldn’t make the most of the turnover.
St. Francis defensive back Malcolm Wallace later intercepted a Cathedral pass on its next drive with 3:32 left in the first to take over on the St. Francis 3. The Golden Knights moved up the field quickly, but a pass to receiver Bryson Reeves was stripped on the Golden Knights’ 47 yard-line.
The Phantoms scored nine plays later on a six-yard run early in the second quarter.
St. Francis went three-and-out on its ensuing drive, and Cathedral scored on its next possession on a five-yard and a14-7 lead at 7:40 remaining n the second.
The Phantoms knocked in a 30-yard field goal to make to take a 17-14 advantage with 4:10 left in the half. The Golden Knights could’ve tied it at halftime with a field goal of their own, but the 24-yard attempt went wide.
Kicker Jake Smith sank his second attempt, however, to make it a 24-17 game with 6:50 left in the third on a 30-yard kick.