Gone are Saugus and Los Altos and their combined 15-8 2007 record, replaced by Rio Mesa in the fourth week and El Rancho in the fifth and their combined 9-12 mark from a season ago.
“It’s kind of nice to have some new blood on the schedule,” said St. Francis Coach Jim Bonds, whose team went 4-6 last year and 1-2 in the Mission League, failing to make the CIF postseason for the first time in Bonds’ tenure with the Golden Knights.
Fact is, the week-four and five contests are precursors to the Serra-Mission league tilts, which have seen the Serra League squads, more often than not, emerge from the physical battles with victories over the last two years. Heading into those games with some momentum and healthy bodies will bode well for the Golden Knights, as they look to emerge from a week-six meeting versus Bishop Amat and a week-seven road contest against Crespi with a shot at claiming a Mission League crown and a return to the Western Division playoffs after a one-year hiatus.
“If we can stay healthy, I like our chances,” Bonds said.
Nothing changes at the onset for St. Francis, as it begins its season with a trio of well-known Pacific League foes.
“I like the first three because they’re local and we have some good rivalries,” Bonds said.
They kick off the season at home against Arcadia, which defeated the Golden Knights for the first time since 2002 last year, on Sept. 12. A week later, St. Francis travels to Moyse Field for the annual “Battle of Foothill Blvd.” against Crescenta Valley, before hosting Burroughs on Thursday, Sept. 25 in what has become an ultra-close nonleague rivalry over the last few years. The Burroughs contest is the only time all season in which St. Francis doesn’t play on Friday night.
After a two-game road trip to face the “new blood” that is Rio Mesa and El Rancho, the Golden Knights face off with Bishop Amat and Crespi.