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St. Francis, La Cañada football open playoffs on the road

Football: Golden Knights will face off with Culver City, while Spartans have long road to Paraclete.

November 10, 2013|By Grant Gordon, grant.gordon@latimes.com
  • St. Francis High football will open the playoffs at Culver City. (Raul Roa Staff Photographer)
St. Francis High football will open the playoffs at Culver… (Raul Roa Staff Photographer )

Times have quickly changed from one season to another and from three weeks ago until now for the St. Francis High football team.

Last season at this time, the Golden Knights, having won four games, were happy just to be in the playoffs.

Leading into the 2013 CIF Southern Section Western Division playoffs, there was some talk that the Golden Knights would get one of the bracket’s top four seeds.

However, after winning their first eight games of the year, the Golden Knights dropped consecutive contests to Mission League and division heavyweights Gardena Serra and Chaminade.

Thus, as the Mission League’s third-place squad, St. Francis, upon the release of the playoff pairings on Sunday, will travel to take on Culver City on Friday, while La Cañada, having taken third in the Rio Hondo League, will make the trek north for a Mid-Valley Division opener against fourth-seeded Paraclete.

“I feel pretty good about it,” St. Francis Coach Bonds said of the draw.

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Bonds’ Golden Knights (8-2) had been ranked among the top four teams for roughly the last month, so it wasn’t inconceivable that they would remain there after losing to top-ranked Serra, which garnered the No. 1 seed, and Chaminade, which earned the second seed.

“There was some talk that that could happen. I never thought that would happen,” Bonds said. “It worked out pretty much how I thought it would.”

As it works out, St. Francis will take on Culver City at 7 p.m. (both teams agreed on the time change from 7:30). Culver City boasts a 6-4 record after winning the Ocean League with an undefeated 5-0 mark.

While Culver City rides a five-game winning streak, St. Francis is on the heels of two straight losses, but Bonds is confident his team will show its resiliency.

“It was tough playing those teams back to back — I think the top two teams in our division — on the road,” Bonds said. “We’ll be ready. This is a great group, we’ll bounce back. They know this is win-or-go-home time. They’ll be excited.”

If the Golden Knights bounce back, they’ll move into a quarterfinal game against either fourth-seeded Camarillo (9-1) or Los Padres League at-large entry Santa Ynez (4-6).

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