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Knights serve up shutout, 35-0

Football: St. Francis High remains unbeaten following nonleague home win.

October 01, 2011|By Grant Gordon, grant.gordon@latimes.com
  • St. Francis' Christian Hess runs with the ball after a catch during the first half of a game against West Ranch.
St. Francis' Christian Hess runs with the ball after… (Libby Cline, Libby…)

LA CAÑADA FLINTRIDGE — A year removed from a devastating, down-to-the-wire loss that set in motion a losing streak, St. Francis High's football team proved emphatically that it's a different season and a different team.

Behind a phenomenal defensive performance and a second-quarter offensive surge, St. Francis defeated West Ranch, 35-0, on Friday night at Friedman Field, avenging last year's one-point loss to the Wildcats in the process.

"We knew revenge was sweet," said St. Francis senior linebacker Ryan McAleenan, who had one of his team's five sacks. "We wanted to get some revenge, we should have won that game [last year]. It feels great."

St. Francis lost at West Ranch, 35-34, a season ago, but this time around, there was no fourth-quarter back-and-forth. Instead, there was a running clock, thanks in large part to the Golden Knights defense posting its second shutout of the season, as it allowed just 66 total yards, four first downs and forced six three-and-outs.

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"I think them beating us [last year] played a huge factor in the way we came out tonight," said Golden Knights Coach Jim Bonds, whose team lost four in a row last year beginning with the Wildcats loss. "Especially the defense, they went up and down the field on us last year. It's night and day from a year ago."

Coming into Friday, the game was a matchup of top-10, undefeated teams, with St. Francis (4-0) ranked fifth in the CIF Southern Section Western Division and West Ranch (4-1) ranked seventh in the Northern Division.

But after a 21-point second quarter led to a 28-0 halftime edge, the outcome was hardly in doubt.

"I'm just very happy with where our defense is," said Bonds, whose team held West Ranch standout running back Jeff Coprich to 47 yards in 12 carries after he rushed for more than 400 in his first four. "I was a little nervous when Coprich broke that first 13-yarder. If you let a guy like him get going, it's a completely different game."

But Coprich never got going, though the St. Francis offense did, led by running back Austin De Los Santos, who had 94 yards and a touchdown in 17 carries. Quarterback Jared Lebowitz passed for 169 yards and two scores on 10-of-20 passing, including a 57-yard scoring pass to Travis Talianko that made it 21-0 in the second quarter. Lebowitz also added a one-yard scoring run that culminated the second quarter scoring binge.

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