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Knights, Falcons gear up for another 'Battle'

Annual nonleague tilt between St. Francis High, Crescenta Valley leads full schedule of second-week gridiron action.

September 14, 2011|By Charles Rich, charles.rich@latimes.com

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

Crescenta Valley Coach Paul Schilling and St. Francis Coach Jim Bonds know what's at stake when its time to compete in the "Battle for Foothill Boulevard" contest.

Community interest goes to another decibel level with both sides of the bleachers packed with ardent fans cheering on their respective teams.

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Schilling and Bonds don't expect it to be any different when the teams meet in the latest installment of the nonleague contest at 7:30 p.m. Friday at St. Francis High's Friedman Field.

Both teams opened their seasons with victories Friday. Both teams are ranked in their respective divisions.

"The players talk about this being the best game of the year," said Schilling, whose team opened with a 42-30 nonleague victory against Santa Paula, at Tuesday's Glendale YMCA Quarterback Club meeting. "We have to be much better than we were against Santa Paula to do well in this game."

Bonds, who saw his team rally for a 31-28 road win against Arcadia on a 19-yard field goal with eight seconds left by Billy McCreary on Friday, said the Golden Knights expect an intense battle with their neighbors.

"It's always going to be a neighborhood rivalry," Bonds said at the Quarterback Club meeting. "You throw the records out the door when the teams get together because everybody knows what's on the line."

Crescenta Valley, ranked No. 10 in the latest CIF Southern Section Southeast Division poll, will look to top St. Francis for the first time since Sept. 15, 2001. In that game, quarterback Hudson Gossard, now the offensive coordinator at Crescenta Valley, completed 15 of 28 passes for 146 yards and accounted for all three Falcon touchdowns — two passing and one rushing — to help register a 21-10 win.

St. Francis, ranked No. 6 in the Western Division, has maintained a stranglehold against Crescenta Valley since. St. Francis notched a 42-14 win last season against the Falcons at Glendale High's Moyse Field.

The Falcons will likely be without starting wide receiver Nick Ruiz and starting lineman Armen Pashai. Both were ejected against Santa Paula following a scrum for a fumble. Schilling said Crescenta Valley appealed their ejections, which calls for serving an automatic one-game suspension, but it wasn't clear if they would be available against St. Francis.

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