There couldn’t have been a better start to the St. Francis High football season after the Golden Knights ran through visiting Arcadia last Friday, 49-10.
Now the Golden Knights will look to take their show on the road to Santa Maria to take on what figures to be stiffer competition in Righetti High, which is ranked seventh in the CIF Southern Section Northern Division and is a member of the Los Padres League.
“The Los Padres League up there is good,” Bonds said. “I like the idea of taking a three-hour bus ride up there in the preseason to get an idea of what that’s like in case we have to go up there again in the playoffs. Chances are you’re going to have make one of these trips in the postseason.”
Bonds said it’s also just a good test to see how his new-look Golden Knights will fare on the road after they took advantage of an Arcadia team, which graduated most of its talent in 2011, at Friedman Field.
“It’s hard for us to really figure out where we are and I think this week will be a much better indication of what kind of team we have and give us an idea of what we need to fix and work on,” Bonds said.
The Warriors picked up their first win of the season Friday with a 55-15 win over Cabrillo after falling to Villa Park, 28-21, in their season opener. They have given up 425 rushing yards so far this season — 254 to Villa Park and 171 to Cabrillo, which could be a good sign for St. Francis.
The Golden Knights, who are fourth in the Western Division polls, ran for 348 yards against Arcadia, as Daniel Kawamura had 108 and Joe Mudie added 101 in the win.
“We were pleasantly surprised with our running game and we definitely want to continue to do that if the opportunity presents itself,” said Bonds, who will also look to senior quarterback Jared Lebowitz, who completed eight of 14 passes for 128 yards and a score against the Apaches. “We also want to be a balanced team and really just take what they give us.”
A trio of backs — Collin Cooper, Eli Wilkinson and Taelor Griego — give the Warriors a strong running game as well, as Cooper had 85 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries, Wilkinson ran for 82 yards on six attempts and Taelor Griego added 53 last week.
“I don’t know how much we’re going to be able to take advantage of, we want to eliminate our mistakes,” Bonds said. “We can’t turn it over at all, we want to work on taking it away. There’s some things we want to concentrate on on our side, make some improvements and we’ll see how it plays out Friday.”
Glendale at La Cañada, 7 p.m. Friday: The Spartans and Nitros find themselves in very different positions after they both debuted under new coaches last week. La Cañada Coach James Sims is looking to build on his team’s 17-7 win over Alhambra, while Glendale Coach John Tuttle’s team fell to La Salle, 45-16, Friday.
Defense and a formidable running game — spearheaded by Andy Paynter — led the Spartans, who ran the ball 45 times for 277 yards, to victory over the Moors. La Cañada will likely continue with a ground-and-pound attack after Glendale gave up four rushing touchdowns to the Lancers last week.
Paynter, a senior, will figure to see the lion’s share of the carries after he paced La Cañada’s offense with 159 yards and a touchdown on 21 rushing attempts against Alhambra.
La Cañada’s defense, which enjoyed a strong start to the season, will have to deal with Glendale wide receiver Michael Davis, who committed to play for Brigham Young University. The reigning All-Area second-team selection is an explosive playmaker in the passing and running games, as he scored the Nitros’ lone offensive touchdown last week on a 91-yard run.
Penalties are one thing the Spartans will look to cut down on after they committed 16 for 120 yards against the Moors.
Flintridge Prep at Heritage Christian, 1 p.m. Saturday: Rebels Coach Antonio Harrison said his team needed to bounce back after last week’s heartbreaking overtime loss to Army-Navy, 32-30. Prep will have its first chance to do that and snap a nine-game losing streak Saturday when it travels to North Hills to take on Heritage Christian.
Flintridge Prep will look to build on the bright spots it had last week, including winning the turnover battle, 5-1, and a 251-yard rushing game from Kurt Kozacik, when it takes on an unbeaten Warriors squad (2-0).
Heritage Christian lists 34 players on its roster on MaxPreps.com, while the Rebels had 19 players suited up for last week’s varsity game before Stefan Smith left the game and didn’t return with a leg injury. The lack of depth may have hurt the Rebels again against Army-Navy. Prep held a 22-8 lead at the start of the fourth quarter before Army-Navy came all the way back for the win.
Offensively, the Warriors are balanced with quarterback Tyler Noe, who has completed 21 of 38 passes for 434 yards, six touchdowns and just one interception and a ground attack that has amassed 199 yards and two touchdowns on 42 carries.