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Flintridge Prep football prepares for foe with familiar story

Football: Flintridge Prep, St. Francis, La Cañada take to road for nonleague contests.

September 11, 2012|By Andrew Shortall, andrew.shortall@latimes.com
  • The Flintridge Prep football team concludes its three-game road trip with Villanova Prep Saturday.
The Flintridge Prep football team concludes its three-game… (Libby Cline )

It's been a tough start to the year for the Flintridge Prep football team, but the Rebels will look to get in the win column against a Villanova Prep team that's going through what's plagued the Rebels this and last season.

The Wildcats, who host Prep Saturday at 10 a.m., are 0-3 this season and were forced to forfeit their game with Santa Clarita Christian Saturday when injuries depleted a team that entered 2012 with a 27-player roster. Villanova Prep lost the first two games it played against Ribet Academy, 59-0, and Southlands Christian, 30-13, according to MaxPreps.com.

It's something Flintridge Prep Coach Antonio Harrison can relate to after the Rebels were forced to forfeit two games last year when their small roster was hit hard with injuries.

"Villanova Prep is going through the situation we're going through with small numbers and injuries," Harrison said.

Prep is 0-2 to start the season but could easily be 2-0, as Harrison said his team beat itself in both games. The Rebels lost three fumbles in a 19-16 loss to Heritage Christian Saturday and saw a 16-point, fourth-quarter lead disappear against Army-Navy in overtime, 32-30.

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"We should be 2-0," Harrison said. "They make for interesting coaches meetings because we go up to take a look at our scheme, but it's working. It's just if we don't fumble here, blow a coverage here or jump offsides here we win the game. The good news is the boys are competing, we've lost two games by a total of five points so there's a lot of good things to be taken out of those two games. We just need to put it all together for a whole four quarters to see a win."

Flintridge Prep's rushing attack has been dangerous each game, as running backs Stefan Smith and Kurt Kozacik have each had a big game already. Smith ran for 123 yards and a touchdown in 15 carries against Heritage Christian, while Kozacik had two scores and 251 yards in 21 carries against Army-Navy.

In both games, the Rebels have started strong, but slowed in the fourth quarter when their starters started cramping up and needed to take plays off. The heat hasn't helped, as Prep has played both games in the mid-afternoon through high temperatures.

"One of the things we're doing is we seem to have a problem when two or three of our starters go down and now we have guys in positions they've never played before," Harrison said. "So all this week in practice we are subbing and rotating goes in as if somebody goes down to prepare for that."

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