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Top seed stops Flintridge Prep football's turnaround season

Flintridge Prep Rebels fall to Mission Prep, 49-14; Smith has two TDs, two INTs.

November 16, 2012|By Gabriel Rizk, gabriel.rizk@latimes.com
  • Flintridge Prep's running back Stefan Smith rushed for 121 yards and two touchdowns and made two interceptions on defense.
Flintridge Prep's running back Stefan Smith rushed… (Tim Berger/Staff…)

LA CANADA FLINTRIDGE — A footnote in program history for all the wrong reasons last season, the Flintridge Prep football team ended the 2012 season with a much nobler distinction.

With last week’s win over Ribet Academy, the Rebels became the first team since the school’s 2003 CIF-champion squad to advance past the first round of the postseason and, one season removed from a one-win campaign, not even a 49-14 loss to top-seeded Mission Prep in the quarterfinals of the CIF Southern Section Northeast Division playoffs at La Cañada High could deflate the Rebels’ pride.

“They’ve done something that no team at Flintridge Prep has done in 10 years,” third-year Rebels Coach Antonio Harrison said of his team, which finished 6-5 after placing second in the Prep League. “I told them when they come back in 10 years and Flintridge Prep tradition is strong where it used to be, it will be because of this team this year.”

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The Royals (9-1) entered the game averaging 45 points while giving up more than 14 only once — in a 73-26 win. They dropped a 47-14 beatdown on Prep League-champion Rio Hondo Prep, which beat Flintridge Prep, 48-12. With a 1,000 yard rusher and a quarterback on the threshold of 2,500 yards passing, Mission Prep represented the most high-powered offense the Rebels had faced all year.

“We put it all out there,” said Rebels running back Stefan Smith, who rushed for 121 yards in 17 carries with two touchdowns and added a pair of interceptions on defense. “We knew it was our last game if we didn’t come out and execute perfectly, but I’m proud of these guys. I’m going to miss playing with them.”

Flintridge Prep went right after the Royals on their first drive to open the game, with quarterback Clayton Weirick hitting Kareem Ismail with a pass over the middle for 26 yards on the first play from scrimmage. The Rebels would push inside the Royals’ 40-yard line on their first two possessions, but fail to convert on fourth-and-long situations on both.

In between, Mission Prep scored its first touchdown in typically quick fashion on a four-play drive of 60 yards, all of which came on runs from tailback Patrick Laird, who finished with 175 yards in 11 carries, all but 15 of which came in the first half.

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