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Knights ready to tackle Mission

Unbeaten St. Francis High set to battle visiting Harvard-Westlake in Mission League opener.

October 13, 2011|By Charles Rich, charles.rich@latimes.com

The members of the St. Francis High football team more than held their own during the nonleague portion of their schedule, going 5-0 and limiting opponents to 6.8 points per game.

Looking to replicate that in the Mission League might be a tall order, though the Golden Knights appear to be up to the challenge.

St. Francis will get its first look at a league opponent when it meets visiting Harvard-Westlake in a league opener at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Friedman Field. The Golden Knights are ranked No. 4 in the latest CIF Southern Section Western Division poll and one of four league teams earning a top-10 ranking. Harvard-Westlake (4-1) isn't among those squads that have warranted a ranking, but St. Francis Coach Jim Bonds knows better.

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"They are just outside of being ranked and we know they are good," said Bonds, whose team posted a 34-14 road win last season against the Wolverines. "From a physical standpoint, it might be a better matchup for us.

"Athletically, it's pretty even. Both teams have a lot of speed and we have our work cut out."

The Golden Knights opened the season with wins against Arcadia, Crescenta Valley, Venice, West Ranch and Paso Robles. The Golden Knights are 3-0 at home and will wrap up a three-game homestand Friday with their homecoming game.

St. Francis senior linebacker Joey Dowling recorded a team-best 12 tackles and two sacks against Paso Robles. Teammates Ryan McAleenan and Luke Anderson each collected eight tackles.

Bonds said he expects Harvard-Westlake, which has recorded intersectional victories against Fairfax, Leuzinger, Sylmar and El Camino Real and a loss against Venice, to continue clinking with its spread offense.

"Our defense will be tested," said Bonds, whose team blanked Crescenta Valley and West Ranch. "They have a lot of guys on offense who can do things.

"We were in a lot of shootouts last year and that hasn't been the case this year. We've been getting a lot of turnovers. We feel like we need to be able to take advantage of that again."

The Golden Knights saw quarterback Jared Lebowitz complete 13 of 23 passes for 132 yards against Paso Robles. Running back Austin De Los Santos rushed for 67 yards in 15 carries and Daniel Kawamura rushed for 60 yards and one touchdown in 11 carries.

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