Lancers claim state 2-A title

St. Francis football
Megan V. Winslow / Los Altos Town Crier
Led by quarterback Reed Vettel, pictured here in St. Francis' Dec. 2 match against Serra, the Lancers defeated Grace Brethren 22-13 on Dec. 16 for the program’s first-ever state championship.

By Chris Burton / Town Crier Editorial Intern

The St. Francis High football team wouldn’t let history repeat itself Saturday. (Dec. 16). Two years after falling short in the state Division 2-A final, the Lancers took care of business this time, defeating Grace Brethren 22-13 for the program’s first-ever state championship.

“We were so close (two years ago), and in the same situation this year, we were able to get it done,” St. Francis coach Greg Calcagno said. “It means a ton.”

Senior quarterback Reed Vettel started both state title games for St. Francis, as a sophomore in 2015 and as a senior Saturday at Sacramento State’s Hornet Stadium. His coach said Vettel’s veteran experience – in the 2015 state championship game and over two years as St. Francis’ starting quarterback – proved valuable Saturday afternoon.

“Pretty good to have us play in two state championship games, and have Reed start both of them as our quarterback,” Calcagno said. “I think he’s just gotten better and better.”

Vettel threw two touchdown passes Saturday, both to receiver Evan Williams.

St. Francis (11-4 overall) found itself in a hole early. Freshman Seven McGee’s 43-yard rushing touchdown capped Grace Brethren’s first drive, and St. Francis struggled to move the ball, amassing only 30 yards of offense in the first quarter.

As the cliché goes in football, though, the best offense is a good defense. The St. Francis defense, led by seniors Lucas Andrighetto and Tyler Manoa, made two key stops early in the second quarter, not allowing Grace Brethren (Simi Valley) to pass their own 29-yard line on either drive. Capitalizing on starting field position well within Grace Brethren territory, St. Francis quickly struck for two touchdowns – a 29-yard pass from Vettel to junior Williams and a 1-yard run by junior fullback Opeti Fangupo.

Although his 26-yard rumble helped set up that latter touchdown, halfback Darrell Page, a staple of the St. Francis offense this season, was largely held in check. The junior, who broke St. Francis’ single-season rushing record this year, tallied 88 yards on 25 carries Saturday.

“It’s more of a credit to Grace Brethren and their guys than anything,” Calcagno said. “We knew it was going to be a battle… We did throw the ball a little bit off play action, and because we give (Page) the ball so much, it opens up play action a lot.”

After halftime, St. Francis’ defense continued its dominance. Grace Brethren (13-3 overall) didn’t score after a touchdown in the second quarter, and was held under 50 yards of offense in the entire second half.

“We’re pretty darn good defensively. That’s where we focus in our program,” Calcagno said. “Lucas Andrighetto, as a senior, he had a heck of a game. He had the pick at the end that sealed it for us.”

Andrighetto, Vettel, Manoa and the rest of St. Francis’ seniors can hold their heads high. The win was a fitting send-off to a group who has been an integral part of the team’s success.

“I think this is huge for (our seniors),” Calcagno said. “You’re a winner…You won the biggest thing you could when you were a senior in high school.”

Sports on the Side

MV hosts hoops camp for kids next week

The second session of Spartans Sports Camps’ Holiday Basketball Camp is scheduled 9 a.m. to noon Tuesday through Saturday at Mountain View High. Open to boys and girls in grades 3-8, the fast-paced camp covers shooting, ball handling and defense. Cost is $275 for the week or $60 per day; each camper receives a custom basketball, T-shirt, water bottle and drawstring backpack. To register and for more information, visit spartanssportscamp.com.

GreenTown bike ride set for Dec. 20

The GreenTown Los Altos Winter Solstice Night Bike Ride is scheduled 6:30-9 p.m. today. The 12-mile ride begins at Peet’s Coffee & Tea at 367 State St. and goes as far as Christmas Tree Lane in Palo Alto before returning to downtown Los Altos. The ride is described as family friendly, avoiding as many busy streets as possible. Helmets and bike lights are required. For more information on this free event, visit greentownlosaltos.org.

St. Francis High promotes JV coach Madnick to varsity coach of girls lacrosse program


St. Francis High has hired a familiar face as head coach of its girls varsity lacrosse team. School officials announced Dec. 1 that Sarina Madnick, the junior-varsity coach the past two seasons, will lead the program.

“We are very excited to have Sarina Madnick as our new head girls lacrosse coach here at St. Francis High School,” Director of Athletics, Michael Pilawski said. “Coach Madnick has been a very important part of our program since her arrival in 2015 and has worked very hard with our students both on and off the field. We are excited for her leadership and the energy and passion she will bring to the program.”

LA's 3-4 record in boys basketball may be deceiving


Town Crier FILE PHOTO
Los Altos High’s Matt Eberle, shooting against Wilcox in a league game last season, is averaging 19 points per game this year.

On the surface, the Los Altos High boys basketball team’s 3-4 record may not seem all that impressive. But under the circumstances – beset with injuries while facing some tough teams – coach Trevor Naas isn’t complaining.

“In our first seven games, we’ve already played two of the top-ranked teams in the Bay Area in Salesian (5-0) and Palo Alto (2-1),” said Naas, whose squad also fell to Santa Clara (3-1) and Soquel (5-1). “There were some positives for us to build upon in our performances in both of those games.”


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