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St. Francis football gears up for rematch with Serra

Football: Two Mission League squads set to take part in CIF Southern Section Western Division semifinal game.

November 27, 2013|By Charles Rich, charles.rich@latimes.com
(File Photo )

LA CAÑADA — Since the CIF Southern Section Western Division playoffs began two weeks ago, plenty of text messages have been sent to St. Francis High football Coach Jim Bonds.

A majority of them have come from former players and alumni around the country who made a request — make sure the Golden Knights are still in the hunt for a championship during the extended Thanksgiving weekend.

After posting come-from-behind victories during the first two rounds of the postseason, Bonds and Co. have been able to oblige their fervent fan base.

Host St. Francis will make its first appearance in the semifinals since 2005 when it meets top-seeded and defending champion Gardena Serra at 7 p.m. Friday at Friedman Field with the winner advancing to the championship game Dec. 9 against second-seeded Chaminade (11-1) or third-seeded Lompoc (11-1).

"These are really exciting times," said Bonds, who has guided the Golden Knights to four trips to the semifinals since taking over the program in 2000. "I've received a lot of texts from people who have been following us on the Internet or reading about us who have been asking us to get to Thanksgiving weekend so they can come see us play here.

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"It's great to be able to play Serra again. Two great teams playing in a great environment."

St. Francis (10-2) finished third in the Mission League behind Serra and Chaminade. It posted a 45-28 win against host Culver City on Nov. 15 before earning a 42-21 quarterfinal home victory against fourth-seeded Camarillo on Friday.

Serra (12-0) has shown its championship pedigree throughout the postseason, cruising to a 48-16 victory against visiting Oxnard Pacifica and then notching a 40-6 road win against Buena.

The Golden Knights and Cavaliers are certainly not strangers to each another. Both teams were undefeated entering their ninth-week matchup on Nov. 1 at Serra, with the Cavaliers rallying for a 35-21 victory.

St. Francis senior quarterback Ty Gangi said the Golden Knights, who are 6-0 at home, will look to take advantage of a rematch against the explosive Cavaliers.

"We've been watching film from that first game with them," said Gangi, who was 12 for 22 for 249 yards passing and one touchdown and rushed for two scores against Camarillo. "We've been able to learn from that game and get better.

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