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Golden Knights welcome daunting foe

Football: St. Francis will have biggest challenge of the season thus far on its hands when it faces off with reigning state champion Gardena Serra Saturday night at Friedman Field.

October 14, 2010|By Grant Gordon and Gabriel Rizk, News-Press

GLENDALE — The following are previews of the area's upcoming high school football games this week.

St. Francis High football Coach Jim Bonds is quite aware of the magnitude of the task that lies in front of his Golden Knights on Saturday night and quite aware of the resume and skill that his team's opponent possesses.

"In my 11 years coaching here, this is probably the most talented team I've ever seen on film," said Bonds of Gardena Serra, the reigning CIF-State Division III champion that will make its Mission League debut on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. against St. Francis at Friedman Field. "They're pretty doggone good."

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Armed with a plethora of Division I talent, Serra (5-0) enters Saturday's game as the No. 8 team in the state according to maxpreps.com and the No. 5 team in the Southland in the latest L.A. Times Top 25. Along with that, the Cavaliers, ranked No. 1 in the CIF Southern Section Western Division, are riding the wave of a 20-game winning streak and, going beyond that, have won 33 of their last 34 games.

In stark contrast, St. Francis (3-2) limps into the marquee matchup with troubling injuries and the sting of two consecutive losses in which the Golden Knights were favored against the likes of West Ranch and Paso Robles, but suffered disappointing losses.

"We definitely think we're good enough to be 5-0," Bonds said, "but, for whatever reason, these last two games we didn't get it done."

If lack of motivation was the culprit in either of the last two losses, it's a safe bet that the underdog Golden Knights will have that aspect taken care of coming kickoff time.

"I anticipate that and that has to be the case," said Bonds of his team being ready to go from the first snap, something that was lacking when it fell behind by 14- and 21-point deficits to West Ranch and Paso Robles, respectively, before late rallies fell short. "We have to play better football. It's the first game of the Mission League and it's against a team that hasn't lost in 20 games and we're at home. There's no doubt [we should be motivated]."

Having defeated its first five opponents by an average of 28 points, Serra's defense has been formidable, but its offense has been downright scary. Quarterback Conner Preston has thrown for 1,322 yards and 14 touchdowns on just 52 completions, with receivers Marquise Lee (604 yards, 10 touchdowns) and George Farmer (401 yards, three TDs) doing a great deal of damage with only 16 receptions each.

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