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Flintridge Prep football gets its place in league honors

Rebels earn several All-Prep League selections on offensive and defensive sides after second-place finish.

November 24, 2012|By Gabriel Rizk

Rio Hondo Prep remained the top dog in the Prep League football hierarchy this season, but the biggest challenge to the Kares' alpha status came from Flintridge Prep.

The Rebels defeated every team in league except Rio Hondo, which is set to play for the CIF Southern Section Northeast Division championship on Friday, to finish 3-1 for second place, the team's best showing in four years.

Considering it came on the heels of a winless league campaign last season, the Rebels' performance this season was all the more impressive and drew plenty of recognition in the recently released all-league voting.

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Topping the list on offense were the Rebels' two backfield workhorses, junior Stefan Smith and senior Kurt Kozacik, whose complementary running styles added up to over 2,600 yards.

"They were our running attack," Rebels third-year Coach Antonio Harrison said. "We were able to get Stefan out on the edge, have Kurt come up the middle. They're both great running backs with two different styles and we were able to utilize both of those. When people stopped our sweep, we were able to go to Kurt up the middle and when people stuffed the middle, we were able to go to Stefan on the outside."

Smith led the team in rushing yards with 1,480 in 148 carries and in rushing touchdowns with 23. He also caught 15 passes for 228 yards and three more touchdowns.

Kozacik rushed for 1,144 yards and nine touchdowns in 152 carries.

"It was a great tandem that they had together and it showed with both of them going over 1,000 yards this year," Harrison said.

Another huge part of the Rebels' success on the ground was its offensive line, of which three members made the all-league squad, starting with senior Tucker Chemel on the first team.

"He slid right over into center, learned everything he needed to learn and he was the main guy on our line who was the driving force for all of those yards," Harrison said of Chemel, who was supposed to start at guard, but was moved to center over the summer to fill in for the injured Cory Witter. " I wanted to make sure he was honored by the league for what he had done.

"He went against hard-nosed guys every week and he never complained, he did what was asked of him."

The Rebels (6-5) had three more first-teamers on defense in seniors Dylan Colliflower and Chadd Cosse and junior Brian Heintz.

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