St. Francis vs La Serna game notes

St. Francis (2-0)
vs
La Serna (2-1)

Facts: St. Francis is part of the Angelus League and will complete for the CIF Division 3 Championship. La Serna is part of the Del Rio League and also competes for the CIF Division 3 championship.

Last week: St. Francis beat Pasadena 35-0 and La Serna beat Mira Costa 32-28.

Friday Knight lights: Kick off at La Serna (California High School)  is at 7:00 pm.

Game location: The game will be played at California High School (9800 Mills Ave, Whittier, CA 90604).

On the road: The Golden Knights will travel 33 miles to the California High School campus.

Did you know: La Serna’s nickname is the Lancers and their colors are crimson, gold and white.

News to note: This is the third meeting between the two schools. La Serna beat St. Francis the previous two seasons – each time knocking the Golden Knights from the playoffs.

Non-league schedule changes: The 2016 schedule features four new non-league opponents for the Golden Knights: Pasadena, La Serna, Dorsey and Buena Park.

Coach Bonds says: “It was a great and complete win vs Pasadena and we have turned our full attention to La Serna. It’s going to be a good test for our offense. We know their defense will be good and their offense can be tricky. We know we’ll have to be able to execute on both sides of the ball to have a chance.”

Team quote of the week: “If a team is to reach its potential, each player must be willing to subordinate his personal goals for the good of the team.” – Bud Wilkinson

Captains: Each week Coach Bonds selects an additional captain to represent the team. To date the additional captains have been: Gabe Mathews.

Players of the week: The players of the week for the game against Pasadena are:

Offense: Jace Harrick & Elijah Washington
Defense: Gabriel Grbvac
Special Teams: Matt Bazarevitsch
Practice Player: Josh Aguilar
3rd Down: Maxx Jakeway
Will To Win: Daniel Scott

Angelus League in action:
Fri 09/16 Cathedral at Loyola
Fri 09/16 Harvard Westlake at El Camino Real
Fri 09/16 Muir at La Salle
Fri 09/16 Huntington Park at Salesian
Fri 09/16 St. Paul – forfeit to Bishop Amat

Next up: St. Francis hosts Dorsey September 23rd.

Follow us: Connect with St. Francis Football @SFGoldenKnights.

Gameday roster: http://www.sfhs.net/apps/pages/index.jsp?uREC_ID=253226&type=d&pREC_ID=578915

By the numbers:

39: Average points scored per game.

4: New opponents this season (Pasadena, La Serna, Dorsey, Buena Park).

35: Margin of victory through 2 regular season games.

7:00: Kick off time at California High School in Whittier.

St. Francis vs Pasadena game notes

Pasadena (0-2)

at

St. Francis (1-0)

Facts: St. Francis is part of the Angelus League and will complete for the CIF Division 3 Championship. Pasadena is part of the Pacific League and competes for the CIF Division 11 championship.

Long time no see: This is the first meeting between the schools since 2006.

Last week: St. Francis beat West Covina 42-7 and Pasadena lost to West Ranch 20-17 in overtime.

Opening season success: Friday’s win against West Covina marked the ninth straight season St. Francis has started their season with a win.

Did you know: Pasadena’s nickname is the Bulldogs and their colors are red and white.

Thursday Knight lights: Kick off on Thursday at St. Francis is at 7:00 pm.

Come loud: This is the Golden Knights 2016 home opener.

Live on the web: Watch this and every home game live on the St. Francis web site (sfhs.net).

Non-league schedule changes: The 2016 schedule features four new non-league opponents for the Golden Knights: Pasadena, La Serna, Dorsey and Buena Park.

Golden Knights: The 2016 team captains are Maxx Jakeway, Will Mudie, Matt Nixon and Daniel Scott.

Coach Bonds says: “It is great to get the first game and first win under out belt and to have the chance to see everyone play. We have a quick turnaround with a Thursday game vs Pasadena but our guys will be ready for the challenge.”

Team quote of the week: “If what you did yesterday seems big, you haven’t done anything today.” – Lou Holtz

Players of the week: The players of the week for the game against West Covina are:

Offense: Michael Bonds
Defense: Bobby Gazmarian
Special Teams: Elijah Washington
Practice Player: Trafton Welsh
3rd Down: Daniel Scott
Will To Win: Gabe Mathews

Angelus League in action:
Fri 09/09 Cathedral at Lynwood
Fri 09/09 Garfield at Harvard Westlake
Fri 09/09 Bishop Diego at La Salle
Fri 09/09 Salesian at Cantwell-Sacred Heart
Fri 09/09 Notre Dame (Riverside) at St. Paul

Next up: St. Francis plays at La Serna September 16th.

Follow us: Connect with St. Francis Football @SFGoldenKnights.

Gameday roster: http://www.sfhs.net/apps/pages/index.jsp?uREC_ID=253226&type=d&pREC_ID=578915

By the numbers:

17: The number of seasons Jim Bonds has been the Golden Knights head football coach.

9: Consecutive seasons to begin with a win.

10: Years since the last game versus area local Pasadena High School.

4: New opponents this season (Pasadena, La Serna, Dorsey, Buena Park).

7: Kickoff time for all home games at St. Francis.

St. Francis vs West Covina game notes

St. Francis (0-0)

at

West Covina (0-1)

Facts: St. Francis is part of the Angelus League and will complete for the CIF Division 3 Championship. West Covina is part of the Hacienda League and competes for the CIF Division 6 championship.

Series: This is the second meeting between the two schools. St. Francis won last season 36-24.

Week one opener: This is the season opener for the Golden Knights. Last week St. Francis scrimmaged against Valencia and West Covina lost at Colony 49-14.

Did you know: West Covina’s nickname is the Bulldogs and their colors are maroon and gold.

Friday Knight lights: Kick off at West Covina High School is 7:00 pm.

Travel time: The Golden Knights will travel 28 miles to the West Covina High School campus.

Non-league schedule changes: The 2016 schedule features four new non-league opponents for the Golden Knights: Pasadena, La Serna, Dorsey and Buena Park.

Golden Knights: The 2016 team captains are Maxx Jakeway, Will Mudie, Matt Nixon and Daniel Scott.

Coach Bonds says: “I am excited about getting the season started. We are always optimistic this time of year but we are happy about the work to date and know this team will embrace the challenge beginning  Friday night at West Covina.”

Team quote of the week: “It always seems impossible, until it’s done.” – Nelson Mandela

Angelus League in action:
Fri 09/02 Burroughs at Cathedral
Fri 09/02 Jefferson at Harvard Westlake
Fri 09/02 Monrovia at La Salle
Fri 09/02 Salesian at Calabasas
Fri 09/02 Montebello at St. Paul

Next up: St. Francis hosts Pasadena Thursday September 8th.

Follow us: Connect with St. Francis Football @SFGoldenKnights.

Gameday roster: http://www.sfhs.net/apps/pages/index.jsp?uREC_ID=253226&type=d&pREC_ID=578915

By the numbers:

17: The number of seasons Jim Bonds has been the Golden Knights head football coach.

5: The number of home games scheduled this season.

10: Returning starters for the 2016 Golden Knights.

4: New opponents this season (Pasadena, La Serna, Dorsey, Buena Park).

7: Kickoff time for all home games at St. Francis.

Familiar foe stands in front of championship berth for St. Francis football

Grant Gordon, Glendale News Press

For 11 weeks in the autumn of 2014, St. Francis High’s football team lived up to the overwhelming expectations that had resided upon its collective shoulders since well before the season had even kicked off.

But then came a fateful road trip to play La Serna.

With two key injuries and hardly their best effort to boot, the Golden Knights, the No. 1 seed in the CIF Southern Section Southeast Division, saw their undefeated season concluded by the Lancers in the quarterfinals with a 38-35 loss.

Now, the roles are very much reversed.

La Serna, the Southeast’s Division’s top seed this time around, travels to Friedman Field on Friday night to face St. Francis at 7 in a semifinal showdown.

“When I told them we’re down to the final four and we get to play the team that ended our season playing at our place, I’d say for sure, no question, they were excited,” said St. Francis Coach Jim Bonds about his team’s reaction when he told the Golden Knights they’d host La Serna following Friday’s night’s 21-7 quarterfinal victory over fourth-seeded Burroughs. “They’re excited to still be playing. “That’s enough to motivate us, not that we need any more motivation being in the semifinals.”

Last season, Bonds’ bunch won the Angelus League title, while the Lancers took second in the Del Rio League. This time around, it’s St. Francis, which took third in league, that’s the underdog, while La Serna won the Del Rio League title and earned the division’s top seed. But, beyond all the storylines of role reversals and a rematch a year and a playoff round later, is the simple and most important notion that a CIF Southeast Division championship berth is at stake.

St. Francis (9-3), making its second trip to the semifinals in three seasons, would return to the CIF championship game for the first time since 1964 if it upends La Serna (10-2), which is in its sixth consecutive semifinal. On the other half of the bracket is Angelus League champion Cathedral (11-1), the No. 3 seed, hosting second-seeded La Mirada (9-3), the Suburban League titlist. Should St. Francis prevail, it would be on the road regardless of its opponent.

“We try not to talk about it,” said Lancers Coach Andy George of last season’s game against St. Francis. “No matter what happened last year, we expect it to be a great game and we know that’s a good program.”

George, a former assistant who took over the program just before the season opener following the dismissal of longtime coach Margarito Beltran, has the Lancers riding a seven-game winning streak into Friday. Every victory in that span has seen La Serna score 42 or greater points, with a 49-21 win over Paramount in the first round of the playoffs and a 68-42 win against Harvard-Westlake in the quarterfinals.

In the win over Harvard-Westlake, La Serna running back Anthony Garcia had 326 yards rushing in 23 carries for five touchdowns, while running back Brandon Jimenez also had three touchdowns and better than 100 yards rushing. Quarterback Jonathan Ceballos, also a rushing threat, had 113 yards on seven-of-14 passing for one touchdown.

“We’ve had some very good success running the ball,” George said. “We try to keep it as balanced as we can.”

While the head coach might be different, the offensive scheme synonymous with the Lancers remains and that’s the wing-T offense, run primarily out of the shotgun, which features lots of shifting, lots of misdirection and lots of confusion.

“Basically a nightmare to prepare for in two or three days,” Bonds said. “We can simulate it as best as we can, but as best as we can do it, it will pale in comparison to what we’ll see on Friday night.”

It was largely the St. Francis defense’s inability to contain the Lancers offense in the first half of last season’s quarterfinal that led to the defeat. La Serna rattled off 31 first-half points before St. Francis made adjustments, but the Lancers rallied for a game-winning fourth-quarter touchdown. If anything was gained in the loss, it was a better understanding of keeping things simple.

More than anything, the largest key to containing the Lancers’ offense will be fundamental tackling and being disciplined. “If you break it down to those two things, it’s pretty right on,” Bonds said.

It’s a message that’s been conveyed to the Golden Knights. “Fundamentals really is everything for us now,” said junior linebacker Maxx Jakeway, who leads St. Francis with 101 tackles. “Everybody has to do their job right now, stay sound.”

Offensively, quarterback Miles Bryant (1,756 yards passing, 16 touchdowns) has been consistent for St. Francis, receiver Jasher Foster (nine total touchdowns) has been a gamebreaker and running back Areg Nazarian (808 yards rushing, seven touchdowns) has returned from injury to lead the way. But the Golden Knights defense has very much been the catalyst.

“I know they have a very good defense. I think it’s gonna be a physical contest,” George said. “Hopefully, we’ll be able to still move the ball offensively, but I think it’s gonna be an uphill battle.”

It’s been led by defensive end Sean Davitt (21 sacks), who had a monstrous game against Burroughs, tallying 12 tackles and six sacks. The Golden Knights, who also feature defensive lineman Buster Roebuck and cornerback Jacob De la Hoya, have held all five of their opponents during their current five-game winning streak to 19 points or less, including a first-round 21-19 win over Warren and the second-round 21-7 victory against Burroughs.

“The coaches really prepare us for what the teams are going to do and get us ready,” Jakeway said. “We’ve just been playing together and executing.”

The teams have just one common opponent in Harvard-Westlake, with vastly different outcomes. While La Serna rumbled past the Wolverines last week, St. Francis lost on a Hail Mary, 27-21, on Oct. 15. The loss to the Wolverines was the last in a three-game losing streak for St. Francis that saw a deflating 34-0 nonleague setback against Calabasas, followed by heartbreaking league losses to Salesian in double-overtime and Harvard-Westlake on the last play.

Now, the Golden Knights find themselves waking up for practice on Thanksgiving Day with a berth in the CIF championship on the line the day after.

“The kids are excited,” George said. “And it’s always nice to be practicing the week of Thanksgiving.”

Bonds, who has already fielded plenty of calls and emails from well-wishing alumni and expects a packed Friedman Field, knows the holiday weekend crowd will be huge and the atmosphere electric with the stakes so high.