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Flintridge Prep football looks for more progress in 2013

Football: Rebels set on matching, if not exceeding, what they achieved in best season in nearly a decade in 2012.

August 27, 2013|By Andrew Shortall, andrew.shortall@latimes.com
  • Flintridge Prep football Coach Antonio Harrison is determined to keep his program moving in the right direction in his fourth year. The Rebels won their first playoff game in nine years in 2012.
Flintridge Prep football Coach Antonio Harrison is determined… (Raul Roa/Staff…)

LA CAÑADA — Coming off one of its toughest seasons, the Flintridge Prep football team put together its finest season in nearly a decade in 2012.

Now the Rebels are out to prove last year wasn’t an aberration or just a result of a team loaded with 13 seniors. Taking another step forward, not back, is the clear goal for fourth-year Flintridge Prep Coach Antonio Harrison and his veteran players.

“If you're successful that means you can't become complacent, you have to work twice as hard to get back to that same level,” Harrison said, “so we're pushing the boys a lot harder, I'm setting the bar a lot higher for them.”

Last year, Prep lost three of its first four games before rallying and finishing the year in second place in the Prep League and with a winning record — 6-5, 3-1 in league — for the first time since 2007.

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In between, the Rebels qualified for their first CIF playoff game in four years and won their first postseason game since winning the Division XIII championship in 2003. They were also awarded the CIF State Academic Team Championship with a 3.58 grade-point average.

“It’s important for us to do it for coach Harrison,” said Flintridge Prep running and defensive back Stefan Smith, one of eight seniors on board for the Rebels, of keeping pace with last year. “We know as seniors if we want to do anything it’s make sure the program keeps building.”

Flintridge Prep, which enters the season ranked No. 9 in the CIF Southern Section Northeast Division, is already off to a good start. Its roster size has increased for the second year in a row with 26 varsity players on board for 2013, which opens for Prep against Army-Navy Friday at 7 p.m. at Occidental College.

“Football is back on the map here at Prep,” said the Rebels’ Brian Heintz, a senior defensive leader at middle linebacker and starting guard on the offensive line. “People are into it, people are out there and supporting us, but if we don’t show them some support back it will all be for nothing and Harrison’s going to have to start from square one.”

One thing that’s helped this offseason is the fact there aren’t any big changes to Harrison’s system — a first for him. The Rebels return veteran wing-T offensive coordinator Glenn Beattie and will run the 3-5 defense they became comfortable with last year.

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