St. Francis, Muir, Monrovia, Rio Hondo Prep and San Marino were the area top five for most of the season, so it’s no surprise that those are the five remaining football teams in the area. St. Francis twice rallied from two touchdowns down to win its Western Division opener while Muir rallied past La Mirada in the Southeast to advance. Monrovia and Rio Hondo Prep had blow-out wins in the Mid-Valley and Northeast, while San Marino won a shootout against Bell Gardens in the Mid-Valley.
ST. FRANCIS 45, CULVER CITY 28
CULVER CITY — There are those who believe that St. Francis High School is at its worst the third-best football team in the CIF-Southern Section Western Division playoffs.
When it mattered most, the Golden Knights looked the part Friday.
Tyler Gangi accounted for 323 yards and four touchdowns and St. Francis shut out host Culver City in the second half to lead the Golden Knights to a 45-28 victory over the Centaurs in a first-round game at Culver City.
Gangi threw for 244 yards for St. Francis, which improved to 9-2 and will host Camarillo in the second round next week. The Golden Knights also received 117 yards rushing and a score from Joe Mudie.
Amani Rodgers threw for 191 yards and two touchdowns for Culver City, which finished 6-5.
St. Francis coach Jim Bonds: We were only down a touchdown and we hadn’t played Golden Knight football. We said to ourselves, just come out and play Golden Knight football, and we’ll be just fine. And we were. It was good to get back on the winning side. It did take about a half to realize that we did play teams this good. I was happy with the way we responded in the second half.”
St. Francis’ Ty Gangi: “It wasn’t St. Francis football in the first half. But I was proud of my team the way we just kept fighting. We came back, made adjustments and just picked up the energy.”
— Stephen Ramirez, @steverramirez on Twitter
MUIR 53, LA MIRADA 35
PASADENA — The star power may have belonged to La Mirada High School, but Muir’s Dejon Williams stole the show Friday night.
Williams threw five touchdown passes and had two interceptions, including one returned for a touchdown, as Muir pulled away late from La Mirada for a 53-35 win in the first round of the CIF-Southern Section Southeast Division playoffs.
The Mustangs improved to 10-1 and will host Los Altos in next week’s second round. La Mirada concluded a disappointing season with a 4-7 record.
Muir will host Los Altos next week.
Muir’s Dejon Williams: “I had a lot to prove. Me and my receiver Taeon Mason had a lot to prove tonight.”
— Aram Tolegian, @aramtolegian on Twitter
Monrovia 62, Sierra Canyon 10 — Still doubting the Wildcats as the dominant team in the Mid-Valley? A 52-point win says it all. Kurt Scoby rushed for 198 yards and scored five touchdowns in an easy win. Get used to it, it’s the first of four.
San Marino 51, Bell Gardens 34 — This one was closer than expected. In fact, if you’re San Marino if you have to be concerned giving up 34 points to Bell Gardens. If the Lancers can score that much against you, what’s scoring machine San Dimas going to do next week?
Pomona 45, Rosemead 14 — A tough loss for the Panthers, but all in all, a good season for the Marc Paramo clan.
San Dimas 48, Gabrielino 6 — The Eagles were no match for the Saint’s Blue and Gold machine, which led 48-3 by halftime. But its all about taking steps, and getting back to the postseason was a positive for Gabrielino.
Paraclete 54, La Canada 3 — This was a bad matchup for the Spartans. But for La Canada, making the playoffs was the goal, and you can say mission accomplished.
Rio Hondo Prep 62, St. Monica 28 — The Kares opened their title defense with an impressive win. They’ll likely get another next week before a much-anticipated meeting against Salesian in the semifinals. We’ll see.
St. Genevieve 28, Pasadena Poly — The Panthers end the season with three consecutive losses, but after missing the postseason last year, making this season was a positive.
Carpinteria 31, La Salle 23 — The Lancers again fall in the first round. But it’s hard for them to be disappointed after winning their second consecutive league crown. Russell Gordon has La Salle on the right track.
Duarte 27, Maranatha 17 — The Falcons found away to shutdown Maranatha’s high-powered offense. Duarte was the lone Montview League team to advance. The Minutemen’s season ends after a strong run to the Olympic League title.
NEXT WEEK’S SCHEDULE
Camarillo at St. Francis
Monrovia at Montebello
San Dimas at San Marino
Los Altos at Muir
Rio Hondo Prep vs. Excelsior at Victor Valley
All games are tentatively scheduled for 7:30 p.m.