FLINTRIDGE LA CANADA — The St. Francis football team held off an Aquinas comeback to earn a 52-25 win on Friday night for a trip to the CIF Southern Section Division 5 finals.
Golden Knights running back Devyn Turner had five touchdowns in the game.
“We have big tests this week and another athletic team in Etiwanda (in the finals),” coach Dean Herrington said. “We’ve just got to play like we’ve been doing, like it’s another game and get after it.”
St. Francis held a 17-7 lead at halftime, but the Falcons made the game close in the third quarter. Quarterback Dre Robles scrambled and made plays, including a 16-yard touchdown pass to Yagqiym Halliburton that brought the score to 31-28.
“We’re moving the ball, guys are making plays, quarterback was doing a great job,” Aquinas coach Jordan Brusig said. “We moved the chains and got some momentum. I’m really proud of the resiliency of this group not breaking.”
Turner pushed his way in for a touchdown at the start of the fourth quarter to keep St. Francis ahead. Jamie Lawyer hauled in his second interception of the game on the Falcons’ next possession to set up another Turner touchdown and a 45-28 lead.
Competing defenses highlighted the first half. When the Golden Knights forced a turnover on downs, the Falcons forced a fumble in a matter of a few plays as the clock ticked down to one minute. Aquinas squeezed in a touchdown just before time expired on a 4-yard run by Jusyis Solis to even the score.
The Golden Knights failed on a trick play from a field goal formation at the start of the second quarter, but got the ball right back when Lawyer hauled in his first interception. St. Francis reached the 9-yard line, but settled for a field goal.
“Those were big, we needed them,” Herrington said of the interceptions. “He’s only a sophomore, too. He’s going to be a special player before he’s done here.”
Jack Jacobs engineered a scoring drive just before halftime, first faking left them passing right for 28 yards, then running for another 15 yards on a quarterback keeper. Turner punctuated the drive with a 3-yard touchdown run.
“We got some tough yards when we needed it,” Herrington said. “We thought it would be a four-quarter game and we had to play all four quarters.”