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Flintridge Prep football looks to maintain momentum at Pasadena Poly

Football: After an impressive showing in its league opener, Flintridge Prep will look to keep on track.

October 10, 2012|By Gabriel Rizk and Andrew Shortall
  • Flintridge Prep's Kyle Hamane, center, pushes ahead for more yards in a win over Chadwick.
Flintridge Prep's Kyle Hamane, center, pushes… (Cheryl A. Guerrero/Staff…)

After landing a crushing blow in one of its more intense Prep League rivalries on Saturday, the Flintridge Prep football team will take some momentum into the granddaddy of them all.

The Rebels, coming off a 54-19 home dismantling of Chadwick last week, face off with host Pasadena Poly at 2 p.m. Saturday. And, as if a game with the Rebels' most intense adversary needed any further incentive, Prep will have an opportunity to open league 2-0 with the inside track to a playoff berth going into next week's meeting with league champion Rio Hondo Prep.

"Our boys have worked hard and I think they kind of turned the corner last week in terms of understanding what it means to really put a team away," said Prep Coach Antonio Harrison, whose team improved to 3-3. "They're all pumped up still from Saturday and Poly's a big game for us."

Poly enters at 4-1, ranked eighth in the CIF Southern Section Northeast Division, but is yet to play a league game, as it is coming off a bye week.

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"It's our first league game, so we're anxious to get going in league," Panthers Coach Brendan McGrail said. "We got a chance to see all the four other teams in league play last week, and certainly Flintridge Prep had a very impressive victory and they're riding a lot of momentum coming off of that."

Tops on the Panthers' list will no doubt be slowing the pace of Prep's standout senior tailback Stefan Smith, who scored four total touchdowns against Chadwick — his fourth straight week with multiple touchdowns and third straight with at least three — to bring his season total to 14.

"There's a lot to worry about," McGrail said. "I would say the running game is the place it starts with them and Stefan Smith there is very talented and coming off a four-touchdown game. Not only is he talented by himself, but they run a good scheme and he has good blocking in front."

Poly relies heavily on the run itself and has prospered behind the efforts of senior Jake Zelek and sophomore Griffin Carter. The Panthers are on the younger side with nine sophomores on varsity.

"We're going to key on everything that they do with their tendencies, we're going to make sure the boys stay home and play it safe, but play aggressive," said Harrison, whose team was defeated, 20-0, by Poly last season. "We're going to keep on our game plan of stopping the run, forcing pass and also trying to stop the pass with pressure."

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