By Brandon HENSLEY
The hopes are high once again for the Crescenta Valley High football team, but at least after one game, the road to success in 2015 will look a lot different.
The Falcons opened their season Thursday night at Verdugo High School, and just like the previous two seasons, they easily handled the Dons in a 37-17 victory. Unlike the last two meetings, where Brian Gadsby and crew put on an aerial show with a prolific passing attack, this win came courtesy of the ground game.
Crescenta Valley, the reigning CIF Southeast Division champions, pounded the Dons for 291 rushing yards, using five different backs, including new starting quarterback Tyler Hill. Junior Brandon Beardt led the way with 113 yards on 13 carries, scoring two touchdowns.
The first offensive play of the game resulted in a score for CV. Senior Bostin Lakin found a hole in the right side of the defense and raced 75 yards past all defenders. Together, the Falcons’ offensive line and their rushers were able to exploit Verdugo Hill’s interior defense all night, resulting in an 8.3 yards per carry average.
The Falcons did most of their scoring in the first half, as they were up 31-7 at the break. Beardt’s 20-yard run in the fourth quarter was the team’s only score in the second half.
Neither the Falcons or the Dons passed all that much. Hill attempted 45 passes, and completed six of them for 108 yards with two touchdowns. In fact, Hill’s first pass attempt of the game, a short route to the right side, was intercepted.
But while Hill, who won the job this summer over Evan Nelson, may need more time to adjust in the pocket, he doesn’t need to prove himself with his legs. The athletic junior will be given the green light all season to take off with the ball if that’s what he feels is the right choice. Hill ran for 64 yards, though it would have been more if not for a couple of bad snaps he had to chase down, which resulted in loss of rushing yards.
Lakin, a sure-handed receiver, dropped a touchdown, perhaps Hill’s prettiest throw of the game, in the end zone during the second quarter. That forced CV to kick a field goal, making the score 24-7.
Crescenta Valley’s defense was in shut-down mode the whole game. Nobel Leduc and Sean McDonald sacked the quarterback a combined three times. The rest of the defense forced two fumbles and an interception. Verdugo was able to open the second half with a touchdown that came on play-fake from 13 yards out. It was the only pass attempt on the 12-play drive, and it took eight minutes off the clock.
The Falcons take on Golden Valley on Thursday, Sept 10, at Glendale High School at 7 p.m.