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Second half stymies St. Francis High's upset bid of Serra

Football: Golden Knights flirt with upset, but Serra scores final 28 points of ballgame.

November 01, 2013|By Andrew J. Campa, andrew.campa@latimes.com
  • St. Francis High quarterback Ty Gangi throws versus a pursuing Serra defense in Friday evening's Mission League showdown in Gardena. Serra won, 35-21. (Raul Roa/Staff Photographer)
St. Francis High quarterback Ty Gangi throws versus a…

GARDENA — An opening 24 minutes of big plays and even bigger aspirations succumbed to a second half of frustration and ultimate disappointment for the St. Francis High football team.

The Golden Knights surrendered 28 straight points, including the only two touchdowns of the second half in falling short of a monumental upset versus host Gardena Serra, 35-21, on Friday evening in a Mission League and CIF Southern Section Western Division showdown.

With the victory, Western Division top-ranked Serra (9-0, 4-0 in league), which entered the game ranked No. 6 in the nation according to both calpreps.com and maxpreps.com, clinched a share of the Mission League championship.

Western Division No. 3 St. Francis fell to 8-1 overall and 3-1 in league with another big clash with second-ranked Chaminade (7-2, 3-1) looming next week.

“At this point, it’s hard to talk about moral victories. We came here for a ninth win and didn’t get,” St. Francis Coach Jim Bonds said. “I’m proud of my guys because nobody really gave them a chance and they battled.

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“Serra just made a few adjustments in the second half and they put some pressure on us. They’re a great team and they got the win.”

The Golden Knights tallied 289 yards of offense, 17 first downs and three touchdowns in the first half.

That was in contrast to 68 yards, six first downs and no scores in the second half, which was due to an impressive pass rush for the Cavaliers, led by three sacks from Rasheem Green.

Overall, Serra recorded eight sacks of Golden Knights quarterback Ty Gangi, who completed 18 of 36 passes for 289 yards and one touchdown, but who was held to two yards on 16 carries because of those sacks, which were a season-high given up by St. Francis.

“They put a lot of pressure on us and we didn’t make as good of adjustment as Serra did,” Gangi said. “I thought we had them.”

Serra quarterback Jalen Greene (10 for 20 for 236 yards and three touchdowns) scored the game-winning touchdown on a simple keeper on a third and inches that turned into a 51-yard touchdown sprint as Greene broke containment at the line of scrimmage and found daylight.

The touchdown, coupled with the subsequent extra point, gave Serra its first advantage since the first quarter at 28-21 with 11:51 remaining in the fourth.

St. Francis took over at its 35 on the next drive and advanced to the Serra 32 with a second and five awaiting it.

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