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St. Francis High football returns home to face No. 4 Camarillo

Football: After 'shaking off rust' in first round, Golden Knights ready for visiting Camarillo.

November 20, 2013|By Grant Gordon, grant.gordon@latimes.com
  • St. Francis High's football team recited its alma mater to the fans after defeating Culver City, 45-28, last week. The Golden Knights are hoping for a victorious encore this Friday versus Camarillo. (Tim Berger/Staff Photographer)
St. Francis High's football team recited its alma…

From Gardena to West Hills to Culver City, the St. Francis High football team endured a rather troublesome span of three weeks or, perhaps more accurately, 120 minutes of game time.

But thanks to their final 24 minutes in Culver City, the Golden Knights are coming home.

And home is where St. Francis will host fourth-seeded Camarillo at 7 p.m. Friday in a CIF Southern Section Western Division quarterfinal.

“It’s gonna be epic,” St. Francis senior linebacker Ricky Urzua said. “Our whole school is behind us 110%. It’s gonna be packed.

“There’s nothing like playing football for St. Francis.”

After winning its first eight games of the season, St. Francis (9-2) lost its final two Mission League contests to Gardena Serra and Chaminade (the respective top two seeds in the tournament) before opening up the playoffs on the road against Culver City. Trailing, 21-7, in the second quarter, the Golden Knights eventually began a comeback run that saw them score 31 unanswered points, including winning the second half, 24-0, to advance to Friday’s quarterfinal.

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Urzua and his teammates believe their play in the second half will carry over into Friday’s matchup with the Scorpions (10-1), who won the Pacific View League title, as they feel they’re back to the team that took the field the first eight games and for much of the first half against Serra, when St. Francis flirted with an upset.

“I think the first half of last game was shaking off the rust,” Urzua said. “It’s a whole new season now.

“We have to play that kind of football [we played in the second half] from here on out.”

Camarillo enters having won nine in a row, including a 35-0 pasting of Santa Ynez in its playoff opener.

“We have momentum and they have momentum, so I don’t think momentum is going to win this,” St. Francis senior offensive lineman Joe Loubier said. “Execution and practicing hard is going to win the game.”

Despite carrying the fourth seed, Camarillo is seen as the underdog by many, including calpreps.com, and Scorpions Coach Jack Willard believes his team has its toughest test to date.

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