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A Family of Knights

posted Nov 30, 2011, 8:21 PM by Golden Knight   [ updated Nov 30, 2011, 8:44 PM ]

Posted in SFHS Sports

By Tyler Marona


The Mission league always poses the toughest schedule for the Western Division; nevertheless, the Knights fought through to make it into the playoffs. Getting to the playoffs was no easy feat, and the Knights had to take on the two top ranked opponents (Serra and Chaminade). Serra jump-started a huge 31-6 lead at halftime, leaving the Knights stunned. Yet, the Knight’s determination ended up bringing the score to 38-30 in the fourth quarter. However, running out of time in the fourth quarter, Quarterback Jared Lebowitz’s pass fell incomplete to turn the ball over on downs to eventually lead to Serra’s final touchdown, leaving the game out of reach. Now 6-1, the Knights were more inspired to win their next game against Chaminade. After Chaminade fumbled the opening kickoff, Lebowitz connected with Christian Hess for a touchdown nearly 11 seconds into the game. This early victory seemed to have been good news for the Knights, but unfortunately this momentum was not sustained until the end of the game. Eventually, the Knights were unable to contain Chaminade’s offense and resulted in Chaminade’s 31-13 victory.

The Mud Bowl of 2011, noted as the coldest night of the year, took place when the knights traveled to Santa Fe Springs to take on the St. Paul Swordsmen. A thriller began with a long St. Paul drive for a touchdown. Shortly thereafter one of the biggest highlights of the year took place when Senior / Defensive End Matthew Casciani intercepted a tipped pass and returned it for a touchdown changing the tide of the game. Casciani’s pick six propelled the Knights to a 27-21 victory. In the final game of the regular season, the Knights squared off against Cathedral High School. Run down with injuries, Cathedral was missing significant players and it showed in the 54-8 rout of the Phantoms.

The first team scheduled to face the Knights in the playoffs was the San Gabriel Valley league champion Paramount High School. Making short work of the Pirates, the Knights overcame San Gabriel Valley’s best to a convincing 45-28 victory with a sensational play by Travis Talianko and Luke Anderson. Anderson with three rushing touchdowns made a huge statement in his return to the offensive side of the ball. Talianko added highlight reel catches and crushing hits to the Pirates’ backs. The brackets were set and the next opponent for the Knights was the Pac-7 league champion Arroyo Grande High School; a highly touted team that was composed of many stars, among them where five division one prospects. The Knights held them to a field goal on the first possession; St. Francis’ Jared Lebowitz struck back with a huge touchdown pass to Gordon Grbavac on the following drive. Not long after, however, Arroyo Grande scored their first touchdown to counter the Knights’ offense. In stride, Jared Lebowitz found Christian Hess for their ninth touchdown connection of the year. Arroyo Grande was a talented team and proved to be just a little too much for the Knights to tackle. The Knights fell to a 9-3 record as the season came to an end.

The Knights have been through it all: the euphoria of winning, crushing victories, and the dismay of losing. However the Knights will be forever remembered by the love they had for each other. “Family completely defined this year’s team, we all had each other’s backs and really came together as the season went on.” Senior Linebacker Ryan McAleenan commented. It was evident by the way the Knights started and finished every game; everyone on the team was family. “The men on this team gave me the best four years of my life and I will never forget suiting up with them every day.” said McAleenan. As heartbreak struck the Knights for the final time of the 2011 season, they left Friedmen Field, with a bond that would never be broken.