High School Notebook: Gabrielino enjoying the thrill of victory

Gabrielino High School football coach Harold Sanin is the first to admit his team hasn’t played the toughest nonleague schedule in the area.
But the Eagles also have done what’s expected of them – win.
Gabrielino, which defeated visiting Contreras, 35-8, last week, is off to its best start in eight seasons with wins in each of its four games and outscoring the opposition, 121-36. The Eagles are ranked No. 7 in the CIF-Southern Section Mid-Valley Division.
“We’ve anticipated, based on the schedule, we would do well,” Sanin said. “But every year we expect to do well. Traditionally, we start well, than get hit by injuries.
“But we have a little more depth this year.”

The Eagles also have improved each week. Gabrielino had close wins over Sherman Oaks Center for Enriched Studies (14-7) and Bosco Tech (27-21) before outscoring the opposition 79-8 the past two weeks in wins over Keppel (44-0) and Contreras (35-8).
Quarterback Elijah Peters has been the key to the quick start by throwing for 506 yards and six touchdowns. Gabrielino also looks to receiver Cameryn Matthews, who has 10 receptions for 155 yards; tight end/linebacker Lorenzo Mena, running back Justin Gallardo and lineman Eric Yung.
“The first two games were kind of rough,” Sanin said. “We started fast, scoring in the first quarter, then it seemed to shut down. We had to rely on our defense and hold on.
“But we have played a full game since. If we can continue two win, it’s going to give our guys a lot of confidence going into (the Mission Valley League).”
Gabrielino, which won its first six games in 2004 before finishing 8-3, hosts Roybal on Friday at 7 p.m. before its bye week. The Eagles begin league play on Oct. 5 at Mountain View.
NOT SO SPECIAL TEAMS
St. Francis has looked like one of the area’s top teams this season.
The Golden Knights, who are ranked No. 4 in the Western Division, are 2-1, with a road win at Righetti and a close loss to La Mirada (28-21) last week.
But if there’s been an early season weakness for St. Francis, it’s been special teams, especially on extra-point attempts.
The mistakes with that unit cost the Golden Knights in the seven-point loss at La Mirada. St. Francis failed on all three conversions, including an extra-point kick that would have given the Golden Knights a 22-21 lead in the fourth quarter last week.
“The last one, our quarterback, Jared (Lebowitz), is normally our holder,” St. Francis coach Jim Bonds said. “His shoulder was dinged, so we had our backup holder in there. The snap wasn’t great and we missed the PAT, which turned out to be big.
“Those are all things we need to work on early in the season. I put that on us coaches not having taken reps with our backup special team (unit).”
RATINGS NOTES
Monrovia (2-1), which beat San Dimas, 35-23, moved up to the No. 3 spot in this week’s Mid-Valley Division poll.
The Wildcats are one of seven area teams ranked. The others are San Marino (3-0) and Gabrielino (4-0), who are Nos. 5 and 7, respectively, in the Mid-Valley; Rio Hondo Prep (3-1) and Pasadena Poly (3-0), who are Nos. 2 and 6, respectively, in the Northeast; La Salle (4-0), which is No. 3 in the Northwest, and St. Francis (2-1), which is No. 4 in the Western.