By Alex DUPLESSIS
The Crescenta Valley High School football team hosted its annual Gordy Warnock Memorial Passing Tournament last weekend. Attending were teams from Sylmar, John Marshall, Verdugo Hills, John Burroughs, Hart and Arcadia.
CV kicked off pool play (games that determine bracket positioning) on Friday with a win over Sylmar. The Falcons then turned its attention to conference rival John Burroughs where things didn’t go as smoothly. The Indians wound up beating CV 16-8, due in large part to a lackluster offensive showing from the Falcons.
Soon-to-be-senior quarterback Ben Rees played the majority of the tournament due to the absence of quarterbacks Brian Gadsby and Joe Torres (both out because of baseball commitments). Rees was disappointed with how Friday had gone.
“As a unit we didn’t have the energy that was needed to compete at our highest level,” Rees said.
But the Falcons turned things around on Saturday. In its first game, CV’s offense moved down the field consistently with ease while the first team defense held the Barristers to just six points in a 26-14 win over John Marshall High.
The victory gave the Falcons a record of 2-1 in pool play, and slotted them up against Arcadia in the first round of bracketed play, where the Apaches proved to be no match for CV. Much like the game against John Marshall, the Falcons controlled both sides of the football. The 26-12 victory meant CV was heading to the semis to face John Burroughs in a rematch.
The second time around, CV was hungry for revenge and riding the momentum of back-to-back victories. Rees, who had tossed a pair of interceptions in the two teams’ previous contest, helped guide Crescenta Valley to a 28-2 win behind three touchdown passes and a receiving touchdown.
Coach Paul Schilling was “really excited with how we came back from the Burroughs game. We lost 22-16 on Friday and then beat them, 26-2,” he said.
“We all came out with a good competitive attitude and we came out and did what was needed to be done,” Rees said.
At 2-0 in bracket play, the Falcons advanced to the championship game to play perennial powerhouse Hart High School, led by All-CIF receiver Trent Irwin. Irwin and the Indians’ high-octane offense came out on top, 32-26, in a back and forth affair.
In spite of the loss, Schilling remained optimistic about how his team had performed.
“We played a really good Hart team close,” he said. “This was a great first tournament for us.”
In particular, Schilling was pleased with how well his team responded from their disappointing Friday showing.
“After the game with Burroughs on Friday, the guys realized that they needed to play more physical. Saturday they showed their physical side and really improved,” Schilling said.
From here on, the Falcons’ focus will be on improving their young football team. Crescenta Valley is tasked with replacing 17 senior starters from last year’s team.
“Although we did well, there is also room for improvement,” said quarterback Rees.
Schilling believes that these tournaments are crucial to his team’s development.
“The[se] tournaments are very important for us in developing confidence and leaders. Leadership is the most important thing for a young team,” he said. “Hopefully [this tournament] springboards us to a great summer and an even better fall.”