Weekly Football Previews: Flintridge Prep hosts top-10 showdown

Weekly Football Previews: Flintridge Prep hosts top-10 showdown
Flintridge Prep's Alex Smith and the Rebels host Mission Prep on Friday night. (Miguel Vasconcellos)

With the craziness that is the world of CIF Southern Section Division I Eight-Man football, chances are a Flintridge Prep playoff berth is very likely.

But the Rebels (4-3), the No. 8 team in the division, have two weeks left in the regular season and two very big games, especially for playoff seeding.


The Rebels will end their season against rival Chadwick, the fourth-ranked team, but before that, the Rebels will host Mission Prep (4-1), the No. 6 team in the division, on Friday at 7 p.m. on the Prep campus.

Plagued by five turnovers, Flintridge Prep is coming off a 48-42 loss to Downey Calvary Chapel on Saturday.


Mission Prep, meanwhile, is coming off its first loss this season on Friday against Chadwick, 31-27.

Sophomore Dalton Strouss (team-high 50 tackles) leads a Royals team that is allowing just 17 points per game. Offensively, Mission Prep boasts two excellent running backs in Vance Rocha (75 carries for 491 yards and five touchdowns) and Brian Kowall (79 carries for 500 yards and nine touchdowns).

An All-Area selection last season, quarterback John Lytle continues to lead the Rebels as he had 361 yards passing against Calvary Chapel and Nick Davis continues to be his go-to guy having caught five passes for 149 yards and two touchdowns, while Ramzi Beshir has also been a weapon as evidenced by his seven catches for 103 yards and a touchdown on Saturday.

St. Francis at Salesian, 7 p.m. Friday: Over the last two games, running back Elijah Washington has rushed for 317 yards and seven touchdowns as the Golden Knights' running game has taken center stage and St. Francis has risen to 7-0 and 2-0 in the Angelus League.

In past seasons, the matchup with Salesian has been a daunting one. But the Mustangs have seen better days and much of their past talent has moved on as they are just 1-6, 0-2 with six consecutive losses.

Thus, Friday's game for St. Francis might well be a game in which the Golden Knights must focus on not overlooking their competition.

Washington has rushed for 616 yards and 10 touchdowns in 95 carries as the St. Francis offense has gained 1,445 yards on the ground with Kevin Armstead emerging with 349 yards. Washington had five touchdowns in Friday's 49-16 win over La Salle.

Blake Howard is quietly having an outstanding season on both sides of the ball for St. Francis. He leads the team with 39 tackles, seven tackles for a loss and four sacks, while hauling in a team-high 15 catches and four touchdown receptions for 326 yards.

Salesian has been held to seven points in each of its Angelus League losses, including Friday's 47-7 loss to Harvard-Westlake. The Mustangs have allowed 40 or more points in five of their games.

A year ago, St. Francis beat Salesian, 20-13.

La Cañada at South Pasadena, 7 p.m. Friday: Perennial Rio Hondo League heavyweights San Marino and Monrovia are in the past for the Spartans, but the road ahead still looks daunting as they try to avoid a winless season.

Quarterback Eric Helbing turned in a 26-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter of the Spartans' 61-7 loss to Monrovia, which broke La Cañada's 11-quarter scoreless streak. Still, La Cañada (0-7, 0-2 in league) is averaging just 6.5 points per game on the field (one of its losses was a forfeit).

Defensively, the Spartans are allowing 55.5 points per game and have yet to allow less than 50 points in a game.

South Pasadena (4-4, 0-2) is also taking on tough times as it's lost three in a row and was thumped at Temple City on Friday, 41-7. But the Tigers have two in a row in the rivalry, including a 31-6 throttling last year. South Pasadena also won in 2014 on the field, but the game was forfeited.

Following Friday, South Pasadena has just one game left against San Marino, so this is the Tigers' best chance at a league win.

Meanwhile, the Spartans will have matchups with Temple City (4-2) and Crean Lutheran, so this may well be their best change at a win this season.