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St. Francis football looks to keep rolling at Friedman Field

Football: Golden Knights look for 4-0 start when relatively unknown Damien, at 2-1, comes to town Friday evening.

September 25, 2013|By Andrew Shortall, andrew.shortall@latimes.com

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

After several tight games in 2012, the St. Francis High football team has pretty much cruised through the first three weeks of 2013.

Friday figures to be the start of the more intense portion of the Golden Knights' schedule, as they prepare for vaunted Mission League competition against teams with ties to CIF Southern Section championships.

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“Just looking at the way our schedule is laid out it just seems like it gets tougher every week,” said St. Francis Coach Jim Bonds, whose team is ranked sixth in the Western Division. “We really expected La Mirada to be a little tougher than they ended up being. This week, Damien presents another challenge for us.

“I don’t hope for any close games, I have had too many of those in my career.”

For the third week in a row, St. Francis will stay at Friedman Field and host Damien, one of two teams the Knights didn’t see last year and one they haven’t seen in Bonds’ years at the helm.

Much like St. Francis, Damien has a reliable quarterback and running back tandem. Senior Brendan Callen has completed 37 of 66 passes for 606 yards, six touchdowns and one interception. Damien relies heavily on its run game and has attempted 108 rushes with Leroy Cloud (354 yards, one touchdown) getting a team-high 22 carries.

“They have a really nice looking tailback that’s shifty, when he gets alone in the open field he’s going to be hard to tackle,” Bonds said. “I think they like to establish the run and they’re also pretty good at stopping the run. That’s the kind of football they play in that area of CIF, it’s kind of a run-dominated league they play there. They build their defense toward that.”

Damien is 2-1 and is on a winning streak over Palm Desert (49-14) and St. Paul (34-18) and a season-opening loss to Orange Lutheran (36-10).

“We don’t know a whole lot about [Damien], we’ve never played them since I’ve been at St. Francis,” Bonds said. “You throw into the equation they have a brand new coach who I know less about and we have basically three games to look at. They’re pretty much a pro-style offense and a defense we’ve seen before and definitely hope we can find some ways to attack them.”

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