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St. Francis football rides early lead to win against Righetti

Football: Golden Knights have share of big plays in securing 35-14 nonleague win at home.

September 13, 2013|By Andrew J. Campa, andrew.campa@latimes.com

LA CANADA — A sudden two-touchdown flurry provided all the momentum the St. Francis High football team needed Friday evening.

The Golden Knights punched in two scores late in the first half in going up by four possessions and never looked back in a 35-14 nonleague victory at the team’s home opener at Friedman Field in a contest that was not as close as the score may suggest.

“The game changed for us late in the second quarter when the defense made plays and we scored,” St. Francis Coach Jim Bonds said. “We took a sizable lead into halftime and that changed everything.”

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Just when it seemed St. Francis (2-0) had blown a great opportunity, the Golden Knights turned around and scored two late touchdowns in rolling to a 28-0 halftime lead.

Up, 14-0, St. Francis was about to extend its advantage to three possessions when a fumbled exchanged between quarterback Ty Gangi (15 of 22 for 269 yards and three touchdowns and six carries for 59 yards and one touchdown) and his fullback at the Righetti 1 was recovered by the Warriors (2-1) at the 2 with 2:44 left in the first half.

Righetti advanced the ball to the 8 on two plays, when Warriors quarterback Conor Regan (four for 11 for 65 yards) was stripped-sacked by the Golden Knights combo of defensive back Avery Williams and linebacker Andy Cesta.

While Williams and Regan went to the ground, Cesta stayed on his feet and was rewarded when he picked up the fumble in the end zone with 1:18 left which, after the extra point, put the Golden Knights ahead, 21-0.

“That’s the second time we’ve had a bad exchange and when you get into Mission League you can’t fumble like that,” Bonds said. “The good thing is that that didn’t end up hurting us.”

Whether or not the Warriors intended on running out the clock or challenging the Golden Knights wasn’t immediately known when, after a touchback, Righetti running back Colin Cooper (19 carries for 117 yards and one touchdown) fumbled at his team’s 26, with the ball recovered by linebacker Michael Weber.

With the ball at the 25, St. Francis went for the knockout when Gangi connected on four-yard hitch to running back Joe Mudie for a score that put St. Francis up, 28-0, with 42.2 seconds left.

“I know this is a passing offense, so I do whatever is needed,” said Mudie, who caught six passes for 114 yards and one touchdown. “My job is to go out there and catch the ball and help out.”

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