St. Francis prevailed, 27-13, last season, winning for the seventh consecutive year in the rivalry that no doubt sparks community interest, but has been one-sided in past seasons.
“I think our kids get excited about this, I know our coaches do. It has become one of the top events in our community,” said Zarrillo, whose Falcons’ 14-point loss was the closest in the rivalry since a 35-21 defeat in 2004. “I think we’re the underdogs. We haven’t proven in the recent past we can beat them.”
Both squads enter the annual showdown ranked fourth in their respective divisions — St. Francis in the Western Division and Crescenta Valley in the Southeast — and having dismantled their Week One opposition by 40-point margins.
“I was extremely happy with our execution,” said St. Francis Coach Jim Bonds of his team’s performance in a 40-0 win at Arcadia in which the majority of his starters did not play in the second half. “All the little things that usually go [wrong] with a first game were absent.”
A 48-8 victory against Verdugo Hills was plenty impressive for the Falcons, as well, but a rash of penalties and two fumbles lost were definitely first-week miscues that the team can ill afford against the Golden Knights.
“We made so many mistakes last year,” Zarrillo said. “We can’t afford to make those mistakes this year.”
Much of the anticipation of this season’s game comes with both teams possessing high-powered offenses.
The aforementioned Riley had three touchdowns against the Falcons last year, but the Golden Knights could be even more dangerous this season.