Football: St. Francis Opens 2018 Season Friday; Darius Perrantes, Kevin Armstead Lead ‘New Look’ Golden Knights into Battle

Published : Wednesday, August 22, 2018 | 8:57 PM

L-R: Darius Perrantes, Kevin Armstead

When St. Francis kicks off its 2018 season at Mira Costa High School in Manhattan Beach on Friday, it will have been 266 days (or nights) since the Golden Knights’ dream season ended a fingernail short of a CIF championship.

And while they lost an incredible class to graduation in both talent and character, the Golden Knights always seem to have stars looming in the background, just waiting for their chance to shine.

They do return all-CIF and the 2017 Pasadena Sports Now Co-Player of the Year in quarterback Darius Perrantes.

The 6-foot, 210-pound senior looks leaner and stronger just one year after setting the pace for area and section quarterbacks.

Perrantes completed 155 of 260 passes for just less than 3,000 yards.

He had a 60-percent completion ratio, threw for 28 touchdowns and was picked just 7 times.

He did all that despite missing a couple games to injury.

Most importantly, Perrantes matured as a player and person throughout the year and played his best football in a postseason that saw St. Francis make a historic run to the CIF-SS Division 3 title game.

Perrantes said he wants to be more active with his feet and improve upon his 324 yards rushing and the 11 TD’s he compiled on the ground.

Another huge returning star is someone who didn’t get as much media attention as he probably deserved, because he found himself playing with a score of big-play seniors.

That guy is junior running back-cornerback Kevin Armstead.

Armstead will get the lion’s share of the carries in 2018.

Last year, Armstead backed up current University of La Verne running back Elijah Washington and finished with 656 yards and 14 touchdowns.

He averaged north of six yards per carry and also had nine receptions for 60 yards, but look for Armstead to be more active in the passing game.

Armstead also was huge on defense, including a last-second interception in the first round of the playoffs that saved the game and the season and gave St. Francis the chance to make the title-game run.

He finished with 36 tackles, six passes deflected and his five interceptions led the Golden Knights.

Max Mota will also be key to the St. Francis running game.

The biggest hole to be filled this season, arguably, is the receiving corps.

Sophomore Bryson Reeves, senior Markel Wallace, senior Jackson Burgess and junior Tanner Tomko will take over and replace the 2017 quartet of Greg Dulcich, Blake Howard, Isaac Cordova and Andrew Monarrez, who combined for over 140 catches, 2,700 yards receiving and 26 touchdowns.

The offensive line returns William Zhang and Louis Menacho moves from the defensive line to center.

Danel Peters, Jason Maya and Devan Bell will also be key if Perrantes is to have enough time to distribute the ball.

In any school, being a captain is an honor, but being a ‘Golden Knight’ means everything to St. Francis players.

In many cases, it’s a quarterback or wide receiver or running back, but this year’s captains are three blue-collar seniors that won’t get headlines, but they’ll certainly be key in the success St. Francis hopes to enjoy.

Offensive lineman William Zhang and Louis Menacho join middle linebacker Will Stewart as the three team leaders, and they have their coaches and teammates’ respect for the way they lead with their actions.

The St. Francis defense includes linebackers Doyle Kane, Tanner Tomko and Stewart and their defensive backfield will feature Max Mota, Mikey Kane, Malcolm Wallace and Armstead.

Jacob Buntih, Luke Nelson, Devan Bell and William Zhang hope to pressure opposing quarterbacks from the Golden Knights’ defensive line.

Nico Boschetti, easily the area’s premier kicker, will be back for his senior year, which gives St. Francis multiple options late in games.

The Angelus League is now only a four-team group, and it saw the exit of both La Salle and Harvard-Westlake, as well as the addition of Crespi.

The four-team league means each program has just three league games, and only two guaranteed playoff spots.

Lastly, and while he seeks no attention for himself, Jim Bonds is back for his 19th year at the school.

Our two-time Pasadena Sports Now Football Coach of the Year was diagnosed with cancer over the summer and it rocked the school, the football world, his program and obviously his family and friends.

We are happy to report that the 49-year old coach is doing very well and the reaction to his treatments thus far have his doctors very pleased.

Bonds’ players are buoyed by his courage and having him on the field, and Bonds himself said being around his players and fellow coaches is something that has helped the process move forward.

Quotable:

SF coach Jim Bonds: “It’s still early and we’re figuring out our identity. Returning an all-CIF quarterback will soften the blow a little bit of having inexperience at other places. He makes some throws that as coaches we look at each other and just shake our heads. Kevin Armstead will get a bulk of the carries and starts at corner for us.”

SF senior quarterback Darius Perrantes: “Our offense is young, and we have one returning starter on the offensive line, so we’re going to help them (get experience). (We) most definitely can be a high-scoring offense.”

SF junior Kevin Armstead: “I am really excited to (get most of the carries). It’s going to make me a better runner and I hope to put the team on my back. Our lineman are starting to click, so that’s good.”

SF junior Tanner Tomko: “I feel like we (the receivers) have to do the best we can to field our spots and hope it works out. We can do it if we continue to work hard. If you’re open anywhere on the field, Darius will find you. All four receivers are pretty solid and will do their jobs. Coach Bonds being there pushes us to practice harder because he’s out there for us, and we want to give him everything we’ve got.”

For interviews with the three ‘Golden Knights’ (captains), Perrantes, Armstead and Jim Bonds, please click on the video link above.

St. Francis 2018 Projected Starters:

Offense:
QB: Darius Perrantes (Number 7)
RB: Kevin Armstead (21)
WR: Bryson Reeves (9)
WR: Markel Wallace (13)
WR: Jackson Burgess (3)
TE: Tanner Tomko (12)
LT: William Zhang (74)
LG: Daniel Peters (77)
C: Louis Menacho (56)
RG: Jason Maya (70)
RT: Devan Bell (55)

Defense:
DE: Jacob Buntih (8)
DT: William Zhang (74)
DT: Luke Nelson (65)
DE: Devan Bell (55)
LB: Doyle Kane (14)
MLB: Will Stewart (47)
LB: Tanner Tomko (12)
SS: Max Mota (4)
FS: Mikey Kane (10)
C: Kevin Armstead (21)
C: Malcolm Wallace (6)

Special Teams:
Kicker: Nico Boschetti (17)
Holder: Doyle Kane (14)
Punter: Nico Boschetti (17)

2018 ‘Golden Knights’ (Captains)
William Zhang (74)
Louis Menacho (56)
Will Stewart (47)

Angelus League Standings Through August 17:
St. Francis (0-0)
Cathedral (0-0)
Crespi (0-0)
Salesian (0-1)

August 24 Angelus League Games:
St. Francis at Mira Costa
Salesian at La Salle
Arcadia at Cathedral
Crespi at Taft

St. Francis 2018 Schedule:
August 24: St. Francis at Mira Costa at 7
August 31: Damien at St. Francis
September 7: St. Francis at Westlake at 7
September 14: Saugus at St. Francis at 7
September 21: St. Francis at Harvard-Westlake at 7
September 28: St. Francis vs Mayfair at Bellflower HS at 7
October 5: Paraclete at St. Francis at 7
October 12: Salesian at St. Francis at 7
October 19: St. Francis at Cathedral at 7
October 26: Crespi at St. Francis at 7