WILMINGTON — Fittingly, the Flintridge Prep football team finished its 2013 season on the road.
Unfortunately for the Rebels, it came in a 31-8 loss to their Prep League rival, Chadwick, at L.A. Harbor College. The near 70-mile round trip was dwarfed in comparison to Prep's nonleague trips to Las Vegas, Boron and Frazier Mountain.
Coming off its first playoff appearance since 2008, expectations did not play out for Flintridge Prep this season.
“It's tough for these guys, especially with all they've been through,” Rebels Coach Antonio Harrison said. “Going from a 1-9 season with two forfeits (in 2011) to a CIF berth to having to travel a thousand miles, it was a long road this year.”
Prep finished the year with a 2-8, 1-3 in league record. Chadwick improved to 7-3, 2-2, behind the play of bruising running back Peter Mavredakis, who finished with 217 yards and three touchdowns on 26 carries, and an offensive line much bigger than that of the Rebels.
“He's a big boy,” Harrison said of Mavredakis. “We told them all night we've got to chop that tree down and we did early, but we got tired and he kept coming. He just kept working, he's a workhorse.”
Chadwick scored on four of its first five drives, with the lone exception coming as the first half expired. Flintridge Prep did not manage to get on the board until there were 20 seconds left before halftime, on a one-yard run from Stefan Smith. The score gave Smith, who finished with 110 yards on 24 carries, nine touchdowns in the final four games of the year.
That drive proved the exception for the Rebels, as they had three red zone marches halted on turnover on downs.
Prep attempted an onside kick to open the game, but Chadwick took the ball and settled for a 30-yard field goal from Justin Haas about four minutes into the game. Consecutive punts from the Rebels allowed Chadwick to push its lead to 17-0 about five minutes later on a pair of one-yard touchdown runs from Mavredakis.
Flintridge Prep looked to get into the game and launched a 13-play drive, which included clutch third- and fourth-down conversions that reached Chadwick's three-yard line. Unfortunately for the Rebels, it came to an end when quarterback Andrew Tsangeos (11 of 17, 112 yards) was stripped on fourth and goal at the four. Brian Heintz fell on the loose ball for a one-yard loss, which turned the ball over on downs.
With time running out in the first half, the Rebels got on the board on a one-yard sweep from Smith. Prep successfully converted the two-point conversion on a reverse to Riley Jones (seven catches, 76 yards) to bring the score to 24-8 just before the half.
Prep launched two more long, drives into the red zone in the second half, but could not cut into the lead, as it turned the ball over on downs each time.
“We got off to a slow start, but toward the end of the first half we pinned our ears back and we got after it,” Harrison said. “We had a lot of mistakes in the second half and some opportunities we didn't capitalize on. We had a chance at two other scores.”