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McAleenan, Knights notch Mission honors

Football: Thirteen St. Francis High players pick up All-Mission League accolades.

December 12, 2011|By Charles Rich, charles.rich@latimes.com
(File Photo )

Having completely recovered from a broken right leg he sustained prior to the 2010 season, St. Francis High football player Ryan McAleenan came into the 2011 campaign ready to make an impact on both sides of the ball.

Despite his injury, McAleenan didn't miss any games last season and the senior linebacker/tight end found himself handed numerous responsibilities while looking to lead the talented Golden Knights back to the CIF Southern Section Western Division playoffs.

Having done that, McAleenan's body of work landed him a special accolade — co-most valuable lineman in the ultra-competitive Mission League.

"I never planned on getting [the honor]," said McAleenan, one of 13 St. Francis athletes to receive all-league honors after the team went 9-3 and 3-2 in league for third place before advancing to the quarterfinals. "I had no idea I'd be in the running, but it's an honor.

"I came into the year wanting to be at full strength and doing whatever I could to help my team win."

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McAleenan, who shared the honor with Taylor Hindy of Chaminade, did plenty of things to keep St. Francis in the mix for contending for league. The 6-foot-3 McAleenan finished with 86 tackles, including 52 solo tackles, and averaged 7.2 per game.

St. Francis Coach Jim Bonds said McAleenan, who caught 23 passes, many of them coming in clutch situations, for 308 yards and a pair of touchdowns, was worthy of being bestowed with the tribute.

"He was a force for us consistently throughout the season and he just made a ton of tackles," Bonds said. "He really stood our for us.

"You had to recognize him out there on the field. Getting that particular honor was well-deserved."

Four St. Francis players were named to the all-league first-team offense. Senior linemen Joe Marrone and Kristion Grbavac, senior running back Austin De Los Santos and place kicker Billy McCreary were honored.

"Joe and Kristion gave us a lot of experience and they were able to help out the younger guys on the line," Bonds said. "They were both sound physically and they opened up holes for Austin to run."

De Los Santos had a stellar campaign, rushing for 1,049 yards in 203 carries. He scored five rushing touchdowns to propel the Golden Knights.

"He'd run through a wall if you asked him to," Bonds said. "He brought that desire and determination to practice and then into the games.

"We just found out he broke his hand against Arroyo Grande [in the playoffs]. He didn't want to come out of that game."

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