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St. Francis surges to big victory

Football: Four-score first half leads Golden Knights to 42-14 win over Crescenta Valley.

September 18, 2010|By Grant Gordon, grant.gordon@latimes.com
  • St. Francis High's Travis Talianko gets past CV's Levi Walker to score a touchdown on Friday.
St. Francis High's Travis Talianko gets past CV's… (Roger Wilson, Glendale…)

SOUTHEAST GLENDALE — A season removed from one of the more captivating games in recent rivalry chronicle, the latest "Battle for Foothill Boulevard" was hardly a battle at all.

Spearheaded by a four-touchdown performance from senior quarterback Brett Nelson, St. Francis High blitzed Crescenta Valley for 28 first-half points and never looked back en route to a 42-14 nonleague win, the Golden Knights' ninth in a row in the rivalry.

"Our game plan was perfect," said Nelson, who completed 13 of 22 passes for 181 yards and three touchdowns and also rushed for a seven-yard score, all four touchdowns coming during St. Francis' 28-0 opening-half surge. "We saw what they were gonna do [on film]."

Aside from an opening-play blemish in which the Golden Knights fumbled the ball away, they scored early, often and quickly.

Crescenta Valley High Coach Paul Schilling stressed prior to the game that his team couldn't turn the ball over or let St. Francis work with a short field. Those two aspects led to 21 first-half points, however.

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"They're good," Schilling said of St. Francis (2-0), the fourth-ranked team in the CIF Southern Section Western Division. "They're just a better team than we are right now.

"We got ourselves in trouble."

The Falcons (1-1), using a 4-6 defense against St. Francis' double tight-end set, were able, early on, to neutralize the run, which had been the Golden Knights' focal point in their previous win against Arcadia, but Nelson quickly made that aspect of the game moot.

He completed six straight passes on his team's second drive, culminating with a 13-yarder to Travis Talianko in the flat for a 7-0 lead with 6:33 to go in the first.

"Last time [against Arcadia], we ran the ball a lot and won the game," Nelson said, "this time we passed it a lot and won the game. That's what having a balanced offense will do."

Having stellar field position didn't hurt, either.

After marching for 80 yards on its first scoring drive, St. Francis began its next three straight touchdown drives from the CV 20, 27 and 30 after a two-yard punt, a Ryan Jenkins interception and a 13-yard punt, respectively.

Nelson, who also had four total touchdowns against Arcadia, scored on a seven-yard option keep with 2:50 left in the first quarter, then found Talianko for a four-yard scoring hookup five seconds into the second stanza and finally hit Keith Enterante on a six-yard play-action.

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