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Flintridge Prep, St. Francis football right where they want to be

Flintridge Prep Rebels face host Ribet Academy, while St. Francis Golden Knights travel to take on top-seeded Lompoc.

November 04, 2012|By Grant Gordon, grant.gordon@latimes.com
  • ARCHIVE PHOTO: Kurt Kozacik is one of two Flintridge Prep running backs (Stefan Smith is the other) to rush for more than 1,000 yards this season.
ARCHIVE PHOTO: Kurt Kozacik is one of two Flintridge Prep… (Cheryl A. Guerrero/Staff…)

For the first time in his brief head coaching career, Flintridge Prep's Antonio Harrison found himself at the CIF Southern Section offices for the release of the football playoff pairings.

For only the second time in his 12 years as St. Francis' head coach, Jim Bonds and his Golden Knights looked as if they wouldn't find themselves in the postseason.

But on Sunday, Harrison realized him and his Rebels were right where they wanted to be, while Bonds and his Golden Knights were pleasantly surprised to find themselves right where they're used to being - in the playoffs.

"It was a great feeling, it was the first time as a head coach I've been down there," said Harrison, who in his third season at the helm will pilot the Rebels into a Friday matchup at Ribet Academy in the first round of the CIF Southern Section Northeast Division playoffs. "I was there with our defensive coordinator, Matt Linder, and when we got back to the car, I told him, 'Let's make this a tradition.'"

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St. Francis, which has now made the playoffs five straight seasons, will make a long trek north to face No. 1 seed Lompoc in the first round of the Western Division playoffs on Friday.

"I wasn't really confident [we would get an at-large berth], but I thought we had a slight chance," said Bonds, whose Golden Knights are 4-6 with a 1-4 record in the Mission League, which has five teams in the playoffs, including both of the division's at-large berths. "I'm just happy the CIF followed their criteria.

"I believe we deserved it."

The criteria Bonds spoke of was his team's strength of schedule and strength of league. Clearly, the Mission League, with Chaminade seeded second, Serra seeded fourth and both Cathedral and Harvard-Westlake also in the playoffs, was viewed as the strongest league in the Western Division. As for the schedule, the Golden Knights were blown out by both Serra and Chaminade, but in losses to Harvard-Westlake and Cathedral along with La Mirada (No. 1 seed in Southeast Division) and Monrovia (No. 2 seed in Mid-Valley Division) they lost by a touchdown or less.

"Just based on the criteria, I thought we still had a chance," said Bonds, whose team snapped a five-game losing streak with a 34-14 trouncing of St. Paul on Friday.

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