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Local football squads look for strong starts to 2012

La Cañada, St. Francis open at home with familiar foes, while Flintridge Prep football hits road to open 2012 season far from home with new competition.

August 29, 2012|By Andrew Shortall, andrew.shortall@latimes.com
  • La Cañada High senior quarterback Matt Jones will look to lead the Spartans to a season-opening victory against Alhambra.
La Cañada High senior quarterback Matt Jones will… (Tim Berger/Staff…)

The following are previews of the area's upcoming high school football games this week.

While the La Cañada High football season doesn't kickoff until Thursday evening against visiting Alhambra High, new Spartans Coach James Sims started the year early by scouting the Moors' season opener with Mountain View last Friday.

"We feel we are a good matchup with them, we are comfortable," said Sims, who saw Alhambra fall to the Vikings on the road, 10-6. "When I say comfortable, I am not saying we're cocky or have an automatic victory, but I think we have a good shot."

In 2011, Alhambra defeated La Cañada, 34-14, a week after it had also beat Mountain View, 47-7. The Moors and Spartans are in similar situations this year with brand new coaches in Joe Kanach and Sims, respectively, that are implementing new offensive and defensive schemes.

Sims said a fast start and maintaining a homefield advantage will be keys for the Spartans this season, calling their first two games of 2012, which are both at home, games they "need" to win.

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This year started badly for Alhambra, as it lost the turnover battle to Mountain View, 4-1, with three interceptions and one lost fumble. The Moors struggled to get much going offensively with just 144 total offensive yards (95 passing, 49 rushing), while giving up 178 yards to the Vikings on the ground alone, according to Maxpreps.com.

Alhambra's run defense is one thing Sims will look to take advantage of tonight.

"Mountain View ran off tackle all night long with a lot of success and [the Moors] weren't able to stop them," Sims said. "Offensively, Alhambra couldn't do much on the ground and couldn't really do much passing the ball, either."

For one, Sims thinks he can capitalize on the size advantage he said his offensive line has on Alhambra's defensive line.

"That's our strength, our strength is our offensive line," Sims said. "When you come to the game there's not going to be any secret — we are going to run right at them. They are going to have to prove they can stop us because our offensive line is a lot bigger and we have some big, physical backs."

Andy Paynter figures to have a big game for La Cañada, as the team's primary running back. Change-of-pace backs like Jadon Henry, Grant Owen and quarterback Matt Jones should also figure into the running game.

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