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Knights ‘Battle’ to close win over Falcons

Football: CV puts up a hard fight, but falls to St. Francis for eighth straight year.

September 24, 2009|By Grant Gordon

It was a defensive stalemate that transformed into an offensive roller coaster.

It was two highly-ranked football teams playing as such.

And it was the closest — and most exciting — “Battle of Foothill Blvd.” in years, as St. Francis High rallied and then fended off a very game Crescenta Valley, 28-21, in the teams’ annual nonleague meeting Friday night in front of a jam-packed Friedman Field.

“It was a great game,’ said Falcons Coach Tony Zarrillo, whose team, ranked fourth in the CIF Southern Section Southeast Division, fell to 1-1. “As high school football games go, it was a terrific game.”

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St. Francis, ranked fourth in the Western Division, is now 2-0, having defeated CV eight straight times, but Friday’s game was the closest in the rivalry since 2002.

“We knew, just from seeing them on film, that this was one of the best teams they’ve had in years,” St. Francis Coach Jim Bonds said. “They were able to control the ball.”

With the game tied at 21 in the fourth quarter, Golden Knights quarterback Justin Posthuma ran 17 yards untouched for the game-winning touchdown. Posthuma faked right to running back Dietrich Riley, who had two rushing touchdowns and an interception, and sprinted left for the winning score, aided by a perfect block on the outside from receiver Ian Hamilton.

“He thought he was getting the ball,” Posthuma said of Riley, who had 55 yards in nine carries. “They were crashing all day on him.”

The game was far from over, though, as Falcons quarterback Kyle Cota led his team on a 56-yard drive that chewed up more than five minutes of clock. Cota, who was 17 of 24 for 114 yards and a score, hit Nick Ruiz for a 33-yard gain and Harry Pessy for a diving, seven-yard catch on a fourth-and-six play to key the march. But St. Francis’ triumph was found within the grasp of defensive back Ryan Jenkins, who picked off a Cota pass near the end zone with 1:04 left.

It was the third and final turnover of the game for the Falcons.

“I was happy with the effort,” Zarrillo said, “I am not happy with the mistakes.”

The first turnover was Riley’s interception. The second was a fumble caused by a Giorgio Chirikian sack that was recovered by Chris Cabrera. The ensuing play saw Cabrera rumble in from two yards out for a score.

CV took momentum into the half and returned with it.

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