St. Francis football turns from tradition with 2012 schedule

Football: Golden Knights will face same tough challenges in Mission League, but nonleague slate looks vastly different.

August 11, 2012|By Grant Gordon,
  • The St. Francis High football team -- coached by Jim Bonds, center -- will face a new-look with schedule without much Pacific League competition in 2012.
The St. Francis High football team -- coached by Jim Bonds,… (Roger Wilson/Staff…)

In seasons past, from cross-town rival Crescenta Valley High to Burroughs to Pasadena and Arcadia, the St. Francis football nonleague schedule has been littered with Pacific League opposition.

Only Arcadia remains standing now, however, as the Apaches will once again serve as the Golden Knights' first-week opponent. In addition, there is the glaring exodus of Crescenta Valley, meaning the long standing "Battle for Foothill Blvd." is no longer, as the Falcons opted to fill their schedule with another opponent.

"It was a good community game playing CV week two, because you knew it was gonna be a big crowd and it was a game [the players] could get pumped up for," Bonds said. "To lose that game was tough."

In all, St. Francis takes on three new nonleague opponents in Righetti, La Mirada and Monrovia in the lead up to the always-arduous Mission League.

"It's a lot of change to the schedule," said Bonds, whose team is coming off a season in which it went 9-3, advancing to the quarterfinals of the CIF Southern Section Western Division playoffs after going 3-2 and taking third in the Mission League.


Bonds' Knights, who are looking to replace 27 seniors, will once more start the season against Arcadia, which lost to St. Francis, 31-28, last season and has dropped the last four in the rivalry. This year, however, the Apaches (9-3 last season) could have a new look under Chris Long, a former Hoover coach who replaces longtime coach Jon Dimalante.

"I'm kind of anticipating he'll be more spread out, like he was at Hoover," Bonds said in reference to Long's having run a spread offense with the Tornadoes.

St. Francis then fills the slot left vacant by Crescenta Valley's departure with a road game at Righetti — a road game with a round trip of 300 miles.

"That was part of the beauty of playing those teams was the [lack of] travel," Bonds said. "At the same time, they're somewhat community games. Maybe it's a public-private school thing where they're saying we won't play them because we're losing kids to them."

Righetti (7-4 last season) and the long trek that playing it presents does work in preparing St. Francis for a possible postseason journey, as some of the Western Division's strongest teams in the past offer lengthy bus trips in the same direction.

"It does fill the purpose of filling that bus ride up north," Bonds said. "Righetti's a good football team."

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