For the second straight week, the St. Francis High football team fell behind early in a playoff game. And just like in the Central Coast Section Division I quarterfinals, the Lancers rallied to win by a wide margin.
Top seed St. Francis – down 14-0 after one quarter and 21-7 late in the second – bounced back for a 49-28 home victory over No. 5 Menlo-Atherton in Friday’s semifinals.
The Lancers narrowed their deficit to seven with 11 seconds left in the first half on Josh Perry’s 10-yard pass to Dillon Golden and Matthew Karic’s extra point. Nicolas Andrighetto set up the TD with an interception that put his team at the Bears’ 32 with a minute to go.
The second half was all St. Francis (11-0). Camilo Arquette’s 1-yard run, coupled with Karic’s kick, tied the game at 21 midway through the third, and the Lancers took their first lead on another 1-yard rush by Arquette early in the fourth.
M-A threw an interception on its next drive, a pass snatched by Arquette, leading to Perry’s 1-yard TD run.
The Bears (9-3) clawed back with a touchdown midway through the fourth, trimming St. Francis’ lead to 35-28, but the Lancers quickly countered with Viliami Teu’s 48-yard scoring scamper about a minute later.
After another M-A turnover, Arquette crossed the goal line on a 1-yard run to seal the victory.
Arquette’s 117 yards rushing was surpassed only by Teu’s 148.
Perry was 8-of-12 passing for 120 yards, and he rushed for 41.
St. Francis plays No. 2 Serra (10-1) in the final 7 p.m. Friday at Westmont. When the teams met Nov. 6 at Serra with the West Catholic Athletic League title on the line, the Lancers won 44-21.