CIF-SOUTHERN SECTION WESTERN DIVISION PLAYOFFS
FRIDAY, 7:30 p.m.
ST. FRANCIS (9-2) vs. PALMDALE (9-2) at PALMDALE HIGH (2137 E Avenue R, Palmdale)
Palmdale is led by quarterback Joshua Shaw’s 1,586 yards and 12 touchdowns. St. Francis coach Jim Bonds is keeping an eye on the Florida-commit, who is the second-leading rusher with 637 yards and nine touchdowns. “They have a stud (Shaw) who is committed to Florida. He’s a starting safety/defensive back and does some nice job running,” Bonds said. “He can throw the ball. They have an outstanding back on Corey Washington whose another guy we need to account for.” Washington’s rushed for 758 yards and six touchdowns. Dietrich Riley, who injured his hamstring against Loyola, is getting closer to 100 percent, though he probably won’t get there until the season’s over. As Bonds put it, “When you’re a guy of his speed, that’s your game,” he said. “You have to have a hamstring that’s functioning. It’ll linger but it won’t be 100 percent.” Quarterback Justin Posthuma (1,996 yards, 17 touchdowns) still has a cast in his non-throwing hand. It broke in two places against Alemany, though he returned in the final game of the season to lead the Golden Knights to an impressive win over Chaminade. “I was amazed the doctor let him go back in the game,” said Bonds regarding the game against Alemany. “They thought he might have dislocated it in one place. In the game, the doctor taped it up and let him go.” X-Rays later showed it was fractured in two places. He’ll continue to play with the cast and a half inch of foam, per CIF rules. Posthuma (634 yards rushing, 11 touchdowns) no doubt is tough, and that much was accentuated by his late-game heroics. “If you have a fracutre you’re gonna be in quite a bit of pain,” Bonds said. “He’s tougher than nails to get back out there and do what he was able to do.” St. Francis will drive to the Palmdale area for a playoff game for the fourth time since 2002. The Golden Knights played at Palmdale in 2003 and lost 26-0 in the first round of the Division III playoffs. St. Francis had better luck the following year and beat the Falcons, 19-10, before reaching the semifinals and running into Mission League rival Sherman Oaks Notre Dame. Last year, St. Francis lost in the first round, 30-17, to Quartz Hill, located just 16 minutes from Palmdale. As for the chilly weather in Palmdale … “We told our guys it’s going to be colder than it is down here,” Bonds said, “but we’re not going to overemphasize it. It’s going to be cold for both teams, but they’re used to it because they live up there.” St. Francis defeated Gahr, 55-34; Palmdale defeated Santa Monica, 45-26.