After starting the season with a 1-6 record, the La Cañada High football team has managed to keep its playoff hopes alive with wins over Temple City and Blair at home the past two weeks.
La Cañada (3-6, 2-2 in league) will need to win again today when it travels to San Marino (6-3, 3-1) at 7 p.m. for the playoffs to remain a possibility. If the Spartans are victorious and South Pasadena falls to Monrovia as expected, there will be a three-way tie for second place in the Rio Hondo League.
"There will need to be some fate on our hands [to make the playoffs], but [hope] isn't gone — it's still alive," La Cañada Coach Dan Yoder said after Friday's victory over Blair.
Yoder expects his team to be ready for the Titans.
"It's the last game of the year, potentially our last if we don't see the playoffs," he said. "If you cant get up for that, maybe you shouldn't be playing high school football."
The Titans and Spartans have had similar fates in league this year. Both have lost big to Monrovia, rolled through the Vikings and defeated the Rams. La Cañada did post a more impressive win, 44-27, over Temple City than San Marino, 24-13. The Titans also marched through South Pasadena by a score of 28-7 — behind more than 300 rushing yards Friday — while South Pas beat the Spartans, 21-6.
San Marino runs a no-huddle, hurry-up offense and is led by standout running back Kwame Do, who ran for 234 yards and three touchdowns on 30 carries against South Pasadena. Nick Gott, the Titans' fullback, is a good change of pace from Do. He ran for 93 yards on eight carries on Friday.
Matt Wofford, the Titans quarterback, won't air it out often, but he's efficient. He ran for 26 yards and completed five of six passes for 123 yards against the Tigers.
Defense has also been key to San Marino's success this year, as well, as the Titans have given up an average of 6.7 points in their six victories with three shutouts.
Both phases of the offense have come together late in the year for the Spartans. They beat Blair with a strong ground game, running for 205 yards and four touchdowns, and defeated Temple City with a balanced attack, as La Cañada quarterback Matt Jones passed for 155 yards and a score and ran for 82 yards and two touchdowns against the Rams.
Franklyn Cervenka has been explosive for La Cañada as of late, generating 96 rushing yards and a touchdown on eight carries against Blair and producing 148 total yards (99 receiving and 49 rushing) and a score against Temple City.
"It's nice to see [our quarterback and running backs] put it together," Yoder said. "It would have been nice if we had it earlier in the year, but it's nice to see it all come together."
Flintridge Prep at Chadwick, 2 p.m. Friday: The Rebels will close out their season looking to snap an eight-game losing streak. Beating Chadwick might be a tough task. Flintridge Prep (1-8, 0-4 in the Prep League) is entrenched in last place. The Dolphins are 5-4, 3-1 and in second place with an outside chance at sharing the league title with Rio Hondo Prep.
Flintridge Prep suffered a 20-0 league loss against rival Pasadena Poly on Friday at Occidental College. Chadwick fell, 43-26, on the road Friday at Rio Hondo Prep.
Flintridge Prep quarterback Clayton Weirick had mixed results against Pasadena Poly. He completed 19 of 40 passes for 188 yards and three interceptions.
Cathedral at St. Francis, 7:30 p.m. Friday: By virtue of its 28-22 Mission League road win against St. Paul on Friday, the Golden Knights have all but locked down an at-large berth to the CIF Southern Section Western Division playoffs next week. A win against Cathedral would pave the way for St. Francis to extend its season.
St. Francis (7-2, 2-2 in league) snapped a two-game losing streak, both league road defeats, and is in third place. It is ranked No. 6 in the latest division poll. St. Francis snuffed out a potential game-winning drive by St. Paul, as it stopped the Swordsmen on fourth and one at the 10-yard line with less than a minute left in the game and made its case for an at-large CIF berth should it not clinch an automatic entry.
Cathedral (3-6, 0-4) has lost four games in a row and will finish in last place. The Phantoms are coming off a 33-0 league home loss against Chaminade, the top-ranked team in the division, on Friday.
"We now have a chance to be 8-2," said St. Francis Coach Jim Bonds, who received 141 yards rushing and a pair of touchdowns from running back Austin De Los Santos. "If we win, then we should get a very good draw in the first round.
"Cathedral doesn't have any wins [in league], but we know they'll be very tough and they are athletic."