Knights welcome Monrovia clash

Football: St. Francis hosts defending CIF champion, while locals look to rebound in Pacific.

September 26, 2012|By Gabriel Rizk and Andrew Shortall
  • St. Francis' Austin Finton leans toward the goal line in a season-opening win over Arcadia. The Golden Knights prepare for Monrovia this week.
St. Francis' Austin Finton leans toward the goal… (Tim Berger/Staff…)

In recent years, the St. Francis High football team has frequently looked to the Pacific League to fill its nonleague schedule, sometimes playing as many as three opponents from the league in one season.

But with annual clashes with Burroughs and Crescenta Valley falling by the wayside, the Golden Knights have looked to another nearby league to fill the void in the Monrovia Wildcats of the Rio Hondo League, who will visit Friedman Field at 7 p.m. Friday.

"With their success recently, [plus] it's a local game that replaces a couple of Pacific League foes and it's not too bad a travel, we thought it would be a good matchup," St. Francis Coach Jim Bonds said of Monrovia, which won the CIF Southern Section Mid-Valley Division championship last season and is currently ranked third in the division. "We know they're athletic, too, so it helps us prepare for some of the teams that we play in [the Mission] League."


The Golden Knights have attempted to construct a rigorous set of challenges in their early games to ramp up for the start of league play and have passed most of them in going 3-1 with their only loss coming to Southeast Division No.1-ranked La Mirada on Sept. 14.

St. Francis, ranked fourth in the Western Division, was in danger of losing two in a row last week when it trailed West Ranch late, but the Golden Knights rallied for a 38-30 win on the road.

"For us to come back the way we did, it showed me a lot," Bonds said. "I like the fight in our team, I like their attitude and there's no quit. We might not be the most talented team on the field every night, but I know they're not going to quit, so that's a nice thing to have in your back pocket as a coach."

Monrovia showed the same competitive fire in its last game, scoring 20 unanswered points in the fourth quarter, but still lost to South Hills, 30-27, to fall to 2-2

"They're a very good football team," Bonds said of Monrovia, which also lost to Ayala, 16-15, in its season opener on Aug. 31. "They're 2-2, but they've lost to two very good teams in South Hills and Ayala. They're athletic, it should be a nice community game for us."

The Golden Knights have benefited from the strong play of quarterback Jared Lebowitz, who has topped the 200-yard mark passing in his past three games, including a season-best 304 against West Ranch. Daniel Kawamura has emerged as the team's top back with 359 yards on the season although he has been held under 100 in each of the past two games.

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