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St. Francis football gets defensive stop to outlast Cathedral

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LOS ANGELES — St. Francis struggled to stop the ball all night, but when it mattered most the defense stood its ground. Two offensive powerhouses clashed all night, but a fourth-quarter defensive stop helped the Golden Knights secure a 48-39 Angelus League road win against Cathedral.

“Defense stepped up big in the second half,” St. Francis head coach Dean Herrington said. “Even though we gave up a lot of points I felt like the defense did an excellent job and continues to get better each week.”

St. Francis (5-2 overall, 2-0 Angelus) has been dominant on the offensive side of the ball all season, scoring more than 40 points in each of its six games. The Golden Knights’ defense on the other hand has been less consistent, giving up big plays at times, including in a pair of losses when the team scored more than 40 points.

St. Francis quarterback Jack Jacobs finished 16-of-25 for 172 yards, throwing for two touchdowns and running for two more. Devyn Turner rushed for 97 yards and two touchdowns on 13 carries.

“My guys played hard tonight and showed grit throughout the whole game,” Jacobs said. “We all fought hard the entire way and we stuck to the game plan.”

Cathedral quarterback Aidan Moss finished 13-of-22 for 227 yards, while Xavier Jordan caught two touchdown passes.

Each offense found the end zone three times in the first half, as the defenses continued to struggle, giving up big plays on multiple consecutive possessions. St. Francis’ Jacobs ran for one touchdown and passed for two before halftime. Cathedral (5-2, 1-1) answered each time, scoring its first touchdown on a fumble recovery in the end zone then adding a pair of long touchdown passes – covering more than 60 yards each – to tie the score before the intermission.

“We went into the second half with adjustments that fixed some of the mistakes we made in the first half,” Herrington said.

The St. Francis defense found its footing early in the second half. Adam Sandoval returned an interception for a touchdown, a spark that ignited the defense for the rest of the night. While Cathedral answered with a touchdown, the Golden Knights produced consecutive stops to open a two-score lead with 7:11 left in the game.

“We kept our composure in the fourth quarter,” Jacobs said. “We were in striking distance but we never let it get to our head.”

Cathedral did not let up, though. Another long catch for Jordan gave the Phantoms a first-and-goal on the 1-yard line. The St. Francis defense held its ground to force a fourth down, but Cathedral found a hole to get within 41-33 with 3:36 left.

With the clock on its side, St. Francis ran out most of the clock and then sealed the victory with an interception.

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