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Knights geared up for kickoff

Football: St. Francis set to face second-seeded Arroyo Grande in quarterfinals.

November 23, 2011|By Charles Rich,

In its opening-round game of the CIF Southern Section Western Division playoffs, the St. Francis High football team encountered a bit of difficulty before turning back a league champion.

It will seek to do the same thing once again, though the task figures to be more complicated, when St. Francis meets second-seeded Arroyo Grande in a quarterfinal home game at 7 p.m. today at Friedman Field.

Arroyo Grande advanced to the championship game last season, falling to Gardena Serra.

"There are six leagues in our division and it's almost always a guarantee that you will play a league champion in the second round," St. Francis Coach Jim Bonds said. "We have to do what we do best and make any corrections from the previous game."


The Golden Knights (9-2) began their playoff journey Friday with a 45-28 road victory against Paramount. St. Francis held a 21-7 halftime lead before Paramount, which shared the San Gabriel Valley League title, pulled to within 21-20 in the third quarter. St. Francis then used another offensive surge to put the game out of reach.

St. Francis running back Austin De Los Santos finished with 72 yards rushing in 15 carries, but teammate Luke Anderson stole the spotlight by rushing for three touchdowns to help the Golden Knights win their third game in a row. St. Francis quarterback Jared Lebowitz completed 10 of 13 passes for 156 yards and three touchdowns, one each to Tommy Scheper, Joe Mudie and Christian Hess.

"Offensively, that was our best game so far and everything just seemed to be working," said Bonds, whose team finished third in the Mission League and earned one of the division's four at-large berths along with Culver City, Dominguez and San Luis Obispo. "We are playing our best football right now and that's what you want at this point of the year.

"We are going to worry about what we can control and learn more about Arroyo Grande's tendencies on offense and defense."

The Eagles (10-1) opened their playoff run with a convincing 41-6 home win against Dos Pueblos and stretched their winning streak to 10. They will feature plenty of weapons, including wide receiver Garrett Owens, quarterback Brent VanderVeen and running back Seth Jacobs, who aren't afraid to mix it up against St. Francis' physical defense that received 14 tackles from Anderson and 11 from Joey Dowling against Paramount.

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