The Falcons (0-2) controlled the ball for 17:47 in the first half,
versus the Golden Knights' 6:13, and amassed 240 yards of total
offense -- St. Francis had 53 -- but Alan Eberhart's team still
CV had nine first downs in the first half, compared to St.
Francis' two, but the Golden Knights made the big defensive plays
when they had to. Elliot Jones' 78-yard interception return in the
second quarter proved to be the difference.
"Their offense is hard to simulate because they use a lot of five
wide receiver packages and they hurt us two years in a row with a lot
of big plays," St. Francis defensive coordinator Mark Gibbons said.
"This year, we decided to make it more of a seven-on-seven game,
and we based the defense around Jason Turner [who recorded a
game-high 15 tackles, including two sacks]. It wasn't the scheme that
made it successful, it was the players within the scheme.
"The kids challenged each other and even when they didn't come up
with the tackle on one play, they more than made up for it by
recording a big play."
Putting the special back in special teams: From the beginning of
two-a-day practices, St. Francis Coach Jim Bonds has praised the
efforts of senior placekicker Scott Smiland, a four-year varsity
athlete and three-time News-Press All-Area selection, calling him
perhaps the best kicker in CIF Southern Section Division III.
Smiland made the first seven field goals of his junior campaign
before missing a 46-yard attempt against Manhattan Beach Mira Costa
in the quarterfinals of last year's Division III playoffs, a game the
Golden Knights lost, 24-21.
But after missing a 41-yard attempt in St. Francis'
season-opening loss to Arcadia and then coming up short on a 42-yard
try in the third quarter of the Golden Knights' game against
Crescenta Valley on Friday, Smiland might have been doubting his
However, in true veteran fashion, Smiland came through with a huge
32-yard field goal with 2:24 left Friday night to help Bonds' squad
to a 10-3 victory.
"For Scott to drill that field goal says a lot about him," Bonds