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St. Francis Pulls Out Trick Bag

Division III: Knights throw several new wrinkles into offense and break open game early in 36-14 victory over Saugus.


LA CANADA FLINTRIDGE — It was methodical and efficient, if not spectacular.

The St. Francis High football team threw a little bit of everything at Saugus in the first round of the Southern Section Division III playoffs on Friday night at St. Francis.

The Knights scored on three of their first four possessions and coasted to a 36-14 victory.

"We threw a couple of new tricks in there," Coach Jim Bonds of St. Francis said.

The most successful was a 29-yard pass from punter Marty Marquardt to Matt Yunker on fourth down at the St. Francis 40 on the first play of the second quarter.

That set up the second touchdown for the Knights (9-2), on a 29-yard pass play from John Sciarra to Clayton Wolflick two plays later for a 14-0 lead.

Bonds said the victory was mostly a result of mixing up plays well and good leadership by Sciarra.

"I like the way we've gotten more balance in our offense late in the season," Bonds said. "I think we showed that tonight."

Sciarra, who has signed with UCLA, wasn't quite as impressive as he was last week, when he threw for 421 yards and three touchdowns against Chaminade.

But he still had an efficient performance, completing 10 of 14 passes for 146 yards and four touchdowns with no interceptions.

"He was sharp again," Bonds said. "He did what he had to do. He did a great job of managing our offense at the line."

Two of his touchdown passes went to tight end Nathan Terrazone, who has developed into one of Sciarra's favorite targets.

Terrazone finished with five catches for 62 yards.

"He's got two of the softest hands I've ever seen," Bonds said. "We've got to get him the ball."

The Knights opened a 29-0 lead by halftime and extended it to 36-0 midway through the third quarter on a five-yard touchdown pass from Sciarra to Terrazone.

It wasn't until Jared DePaivablocked a punt by Marquardt and Derek MacCulloch recovered in the end zone early in the fourth quarter that Saugus (5-6) finally scored.

But DePaiva, who rushed for 62 yards in eight carries and scored on a 26-yard screen pass in the fourth quarter, said the Centurions sealed their fate early in the game.

"We dug ourselves a hole early," DePaiva said. "I don't know if it was the pressure of being in the playoffs, but we didn't really execute."

Chris Ahlheim of Saugus completed 14 of 27 passes for 133 yards and a touchdown with two interceptions.

The Knights had 115 yards rushing, mostly from Matt Milton. He finished with 80 yards in 17 carries and scored on a 34-yard screen pass in the first quarter.

George Koval had four catches for 44 yards for Saugus and Brandon McCullough had 74 yards in 14 carries.

St. Francis out-gained Saugus, 290 yards to 253.

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