St. Francis High football has eye on grabbing seed

From one giant to another in the CIF Southern Section Western Division.

After the St. Francis High football team saw its bid to capture the Mission League championship likely fall by the wayside Friday with a 35-21 league road loss against top-ranked Gardena Serra, the Golden Knights must now contend with another formidable foe in Chaminade.

The teams will meet at 7 p.m. Friday at Chaminade.

The Golden Knights have already clinched a playoff berth, as the top three teams from the league automatically qualify for the playoffs.

There's also a lot still up for grabs for the Golden Knights and the Eagles. Of significant importance is wrapping up second and likely grabbing a top-four seed in the division.

The Golden Knights, who are 8-1, 3-1 in league and ranked third in the latest division poll, find themselves in position to grab second place. So do the Eagles, who are 7-2, 3-1 and ranked second in the division following a 73-0 league victory against Harvard-Westlake.

“I think we showed we could play toe-to-toe against Serra and we can play with anybody in our division,” St. Francis Coach Jim Bonds said. “We know we have a tall order against Chaminade, which has a nice homefield advantage and a pretty loud crowd supporting them.

“We have a mature team that knows how to play well on the road. We think we can go over there and give them a good game.”

St. Francis and Chaminade will each have their share of skilled athletes on both sides of the ball. For the Golden Knights, quarterback Ty Gangi completed 19 of 40 passes for 312 yards and a touchdown against Serra, ranked No. 1 in the division. Dylan Crawford had seven catches for 136 yards and Joe Mudie finished with 127 yards of total offense.

Ross Niederhaus and Michael Weber finished with eight tackles each.

Chaminade is coming off its best offensive output and will look to solve St. Francis' improved defense. Quarterback Brad Kaaya completed 10 of 15 passes for 275 yards and four touchdowns against Harvard-Westlake. Running back Donovan Lee had three rushing touchdowns.

“We feel like we can respond to that big challenge,” Bonds said. “We'll try to apply some pressure on their quarterback.

“There's a familiarity between both teams. We have a pretty good idea of what we want to try defensively. It will probably come down to a few plays here or there.”

Temple City at La Cañada, 7 p.m. Friday: When the Spartans take the field, they'll do so knowing a victory would wrap up third place in the Rio Hondo League and clinch a playoff berth in the Mid-Valley Division. The same can be said for Temple City. The Spartans improved to 4-5, 2-2 in league with a 21-9 league road victory against South Pasadena on Friday. Temple City dropped to 3-6, 2-2 with a 48-0 league defeat versus San Marino.

The Spartans hope playing at home will work to their advantage, though they are 1-3 on their own turf. However, the Rams are 0-4 on the road this
season.

La Cañada's defense flourished in the second half, limiting South Pasadena to three points. The Spartans scored a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns to complete their comeback. Spartans running back Donnie Breneman, who had 100 yards on 13 carries in the pivotal second half, gave the Spartans a 15-9 lead on a four-yard touchdown run.

Temple City recorded a 44-26 home victory against La Cañada last season.

Flintridge Prep vs. Chadwick at L.A. Harbor College, 4:15 p.m. Friday: The Rebels (2-7, 1-2 in league) will look for their third straight win when they face rival Chadwick (5-3, 1-2) in the teams' Prep League finale.

Flintridge Prep received two touchdowns from senior running back Stefan Smith to pick up a 21-13 Intersectional road victory against Hawkins on Friday. Chadwick picked up a 45-7 league win against Webb. A victory against Flintridge Prep would give the Dolphins a third-place finish after beginning the season 5-0.

Running back Stefan Smith has done it all of late for Flintridge Prep. The reigning All-Area honoree has scored eight touchdowns in the Rebels' last three games to provide them with a much-needed boost.

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