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Flintridge Prep football stays close early, falls apart late

Football: Rebels only trails defending CIF Southern Section champion Rio Hondo Prep, 21-14, after first before losing 63-22.

October 18, 2013|By Charles Rich, charles.rich@latimes.com

ARCADIA — For the first quarter of Friday night's game against Rio Hondo Prep, the members of the Flintridge Prep football team looked noticeably rejuvenated.

Throughout most of the season, the Rebels have struggled in the opening quarter. That wasn't the case while matched against an opponent that's won two straight CIF Southern Section championships.

Flintridge Prep scored a pair of first-quarter touchdowns, but couldn't sustain the momentum the remainder of the way in a 63-22 Prep League road loss against powerhouse Rio Hondo Prep.

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“It was a complete turnaround for us and I liked the way we came out and stayed with Rio Hondo,” said Flintridge Prep Coach Antonio Harrison, whose team dropped to 0-7, 0-2 in league with three games remaining. “It was our best first quarter since the first week of the season against Carlsbad Army-Navy.

“We did a lot of things well right away. I loved our start and the way we played toward the end of the game. Things just got away from us in the middle.”

Rio Hondo Prep, which captured the CIF Southern Section Northeast Division championship last season and is ranked third in the latest division poll, received a huge effort from running back Nate Tayco. Tayco rushed for 189 yards in 13 carries and scored four rushing touchdowns to help the Kares improve to 6-1, 2-0.

Flintridge Prep got a splendid effort from running back Stefan Smith, who rushed for 210 yards in 21 carries and scored all three touchdowns for the Rebels. Smith, a senior and a reigning All-Area honoree, had touchdown runs of six, 73 and four yards.

Smith said the Rebels showed some signs of improvement Friday.

“I thought we definitely played better, especially in the first quarter,” Smith said. “It was just about going out there and competing against a real good team like Rio Hondo Prep.

“My guys blocked well for me. We were able to get a few plays going right away. The games are precious and there's three left to go.”

Rio Hondo Prep scored on its first play from scrimmage when Tayco ran down the left sideline 63 yards to make it 7-0 with 10:28 left in the first quarter. The Rebels, who placed second in league last season, trimmed the deficit to 7-6 on a six-yard run by Smith three minutes later.

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