By Alex Gonzalez
(La Canada) — With less than 40 seconds left in the fourth quarter, Golden Knight cornerback Kevin Armstead picked off Andrew Henriquez’ pass on the 18-yard line sealing St. Francis’ 31-27 win over La Serna in the Division 3 CIF Southern Section first round playoff Friday night at Friedman Field.
La Serna was the first to reach the end zone to open the game. Running back Issac Contreras capped the Lancers 14 play drive when he took the handoff and bulldozed his way into the end zone.
St. Francis wasted little time on their ensuing possession to tie the ballgame at seven. Taking only two minutes off the clock, St. Frank’s quarterback Darius Perrantes optioned to keep the ball and scored from six yards out.
The Knights then took the lead at the start of the second quarter when Perrantes hooked up with Greg Dulcich who went through three Lancer defenders to break the tie.
La Serna answered right back when Henriquez found Austin Sarabia alone in the end zone, tying the ball game at 14 with 8:07 left in the second frame.
Just before the half, both teams scored touchdowns. Armstead took the handoff and dashed his way to the end zone. Six seconds later, Henriquez completed his pass to Paul Duarte on the slip screen, who then took it 80 yards for the touchdown.
Following the break, the Knights broke the 21-21 tie when Nico Boschetti converted his 34-yard field goal. The Lancers tried to answer back on their next possession but Blake Howard picked Henriquez’s pass.
The Knights then extended their lead when Armstead scored his second touchdown when he powered his way into the end zone, pushing the score to 30-21 with 10:56 left in the fourth quarter.
La Serna finally answered back when Contreras scored his team’s first touchdown of the half with 6:07 left in the fourth but the point after attempt was blocked. The Lancers trailed the Knights 31-27.
After forcing the Knights to punt, the Lancers took over on their 28-yard line with 4:10 left to play in the fourth quarter. Running backs Fonzie Ibanez and Issac Contreras combined for 55 yards on eight carries, bringing the Lancers to the 27-yard line. With 38 seconds left, Henriquez took the snap, rolled to his left and tried to hit Duarte on the comeback route, but Armstead jumped the route and picked off the pass on the 8-yard line, stopping the comeback.
With the win, the Knights will travel to Perris to play Citrus Hill next Friday night.