In one week, the Flintridge Prep football team will go from facing the top of the Prep League to the bottom, as it travels to Webb Saturday at 1 p.m. after hosting Rio Hondo Prep last week.
A victory would mean a top-two finish in league for the Rebels (4-4, 2-1 in league), who finished last in the standings in 2011, but Prep Coach Antonio Harrison knows full well the dangers of looking ahead.
“I told the kids a team like Webb is one of those teams where they have nothing to lose so they're going to come out with everything they have to pull out a victory and pull off an upset against us so we can't let up,” Harrison said. “We need a victory to lock up a playoff spot so we have to come out with the same mentality we have all year, like we have something to lose.”
The Gauls (1-6, 0-2) have struggled all year and all signs point to the Rebels being the favorites in their regular-season finale. Webb fell to Army-Navy (42-0) and Malibu (28-7), both teams Prep nearly beat and fell to in overtime, 32-30, and, 40-34, respectively. The Gauls, whose losses have come by an average of 31 points, also fell to Pasadena Poly (42-19) and Rio Hondo Prep (42-0), while the Rebels defeated the Panthers (46-33) and most recently fell to the Kares (48-12).
“I never consider ourselves favorites in any game because anything can happen any given day,” Harrison said. “I want to make sure the boys are prepared and are expecting to do their best. It's nice to know people are believing in us and our skill more than last year, but to us it doesn’t matter. We also have to redeem ourselves from last week and take some positives into the playoffs.”
Flintridge Prep figures to look to its senior running backs Stefan Smith and Kurt Kozacik for the majority of its offense again this week after they tallied 96 and 76 yards, respectively, against Rio Hondo.
Chaminade at St. Francis, 7 p.m. Friday: The odds of making the CIF Southern Section Western Division playoffs appear slim after the Golden Knights lost their first three Mission League games against Cathedral, Harvard-Westlake and Gardena Serra. Expect St. Francis (3-5, 0-3 in league) to face another tough test against Chaminade (7-1, 3-0). The Eagles have won four in a row and are No. 2 in the latest division poll.
St. Francis suffered a 41-6 loss to visiting Serra on Thursday. The Golden Knights have lost four games in a row.
St. Francis might be up against its most difficult test against first-place Chaminade, which posted a 78-34 league road win against Harvard-Westlake on Friday.
While St. Francis Coach Jim Bonds said he’s aware of Chaminade’s lopsided victory against Harvard-Westlake, he's not about to let scores dictate his expectations.
“We lost to Harvard-Westlake, 41-36, and Chamiande beat them,” Bonds said. “You can’t go around and compare the scores.
“We believe Chaminade is a good matchup for us. Chaminade has speed in a few positions, but not like Serra has.”
St. Francis didn’t score a touchdown against Serra and was limited to 214 yards of total offense. St. Francis running back Daniel Kawamura finished with 63 yards in 12 carries.
It’s likely that St. Francis will be paying extra attention to star Chaminade running back Terrell Newby, who rushed for about 350 yards and a school-record eight touchdowns in the win against Harvard-Westlake.
“Newby is the guy who we have to stop,” said Bonds, whose team lost to Chaminade, 31-13, last season.
The Eagles have won two straight games against the Golden Knights. St. Francis’ last win against Chaminade came in 2009, when it rallied for a 32-25 victory.
La Cañada at Temple City at 7 p.m. Friday: With playoffs likely out of the picture for the Spartans, they'll look to build some momentum heading into next season in their final two games of the year, starting with a trip to Temple City this week.
Entering Rio Hondo League play it looked like La Cañada's last two games of the regular season were going to be the least challenging, but Temple City has turned its year around. It opened the year with three losses, but has gone 4-1 since then to make itself a contender for a top-three spot in the league standings after knocking off South Pasadena in overtime (42-35) and Blair (48-0). The Spartans did fare better against San Marino, 42-17, than Temple City did, which lost, 58-0.
The Rams (4-4, 2-1) and Spartans (1-7, 0-3) both operate in a run-heavy offense. Temple City has completed just nine of 44 passes for a total of 190 yards, one touchdown and seven interceptions, according to MaxPreps.com, while gaining 1,559 yards and scoring 14 touchdowns on the ground on 333 carries.
Nick Starling leads the Rams offense at quarterback, as he's tallied 521 yards and five scores on 106 carries.
The Spartans ran the ball 59 times to five pass attempts last week with Andy Paynter tallying 135 yards and a touchdown on 28 carries, Jadon Henry adding 117 yards on 13 carries and Grant Owen tallying 81 yards on 10 carries.