LA CAÑADA —Thanks to a stellar effort from its featured running back and a key fumble recovery, the members of the Flintridge Prep football team are no longer winless.
For Flintridge Prep Coach Antonio Harrison, he could breathe a sigh of relief.
Flintridge Prep received 245 yards rushing and three touchdowns from Stefan Smith and defensive lineman Alex Gunning recovered a fumble deep in Flintridge Prep territory late in the fourth quarter to propel the host Rebels to a 19-17 Prep League home win against Webb at La Canada High on Saturday night.
Flintridge Prep improved to 1-7, 1-2 in league and snapped an eight-game losing streak. Webb dipped to 4-4, 0-2.
“It says something about them wanting to go out there and succeed,” said Harrison, the reigning All-Area Football Coach of the Year. “They went out there and did an amazing job.
“We found a way to get it done. Stefan was playing his last home game and wanted to do well. He's got that will and desire to succeed. He's not scared to fail.”
Smith gave the Rebels a 19-10 lead on a 29-yard run with 7:05 left in the third quarter.
The Gauls closed to within 19-17 on a one-yard run by running back Chaz Salazar with 8:10 remaining in the fourth quarter.
Webb appeared to seize the momentum a couple of minutes later. Webb's Daniel Crisostomo partially blocked a punt at the Flintridge Prep 24-yard line. The Gauls inched closer to the end zone, but Gunning recovered a fumble following a botched snap at the Flintridge Prep nine-yard line with 5:30 to go.
“That turned out to be a huge play,” Harrison said. “It was a case where we had to fight the whole game and keep moving forward.”
Flintridge Prep took a 6-0 lead on the game's first possession. Smith scored on a 10-yard run with 8:13 remaining. Smith, a reigning All-Area honoree who helped the Rebels advance to the playoffs last season, finished the drive with 77 yards in seven carries.
Webb grabbed a 7-6 lead on a six-yard run by Salazar with 23.3 seconds to play in the opening quarter.
On the ensuing possession, Flintridge Prep regained the lead at 12-7 on a three-yard run by Smith with 9:39 left in the second quarter. Smith, a senior, finished the first half with 145 yards rushing in 19 carries.
The Rebels got one fumble recovery apiece from Elliot Witter and Chris Zaro in the first half. Zaro's recovery came at the Flintridge Prep 23-yard line with one minute to play.
The Rebels will next participate in an intersectional road game against Hawkins at 7 p.m. Friday.