Players and coaches talk offensive line, running back expectations and the battle for starting quarterback.
By Maddy PUMILIA
The Crescenta Valley Falcons football team can already be found on the field, practicing hard to get ready for the upcoming season.
“Our biggest returners, based on last year, are our offensive line because a lot of those guys played all last year and they’re back,” Schilling said. “They were all juniors.”
Some of the offensive line players include Andrew Kiorkof, Ryan Powell and Naz Erdoglyan. They started every game last season.
“So our offensive line is probably our core guys,” said Schilling. “[Running back] William Wang is back. We have big expectations for him.”
CV finished 6-4 last year, losing in the first round of playoffs.
Chad Eggertson and Jack Lutynski, who both played wide receiver and defensive back last year, are also returning. Lutynski is expected to be the lead wide receiver.
Big names on CV’s roster from last year are graduating and will no longer be playing Falcon ball. This list includes running back Marro Lee, quarterback Zac Wilkerson, wide receiver Nick Ruiz, offensive and defensive lineman Nathan Sarreal and tight end Justin Springfield. Paul Gamez is expected to be Sarreal’s replacement.
With Wilkerson gone, there are two guys competing for quarterback: Joe Torres and Ben Rees.
“We don’t have a for sure quarterback yet,” Schilling said. “It will be most likely one of the two.”
“It’s a competition,” said Torres. “We’re good friends. We hang out at school all the time. But it’s definitely a competition and you have to know who’s going to play or split times. Whoever is the best guy for them is going to play and the other one is going to have to be right beside him working and helping to try and get better.”
With key players graduating, a significant number of freshmen will be taking to the varsity field.
“We’re going to have a lot of young guys,” Schilling said. Ten players from last year’s freshman team have moved up to varsity, which is unusual. In most cases no player moves up from the freshman squad to varsity, which is what happened last year at CV.
“We’re definitely a young team,” Torres said. “We have incoming sophomores and incoming juniors playing. We’re definitely going to compete … nobody likes to lose. This team definitely has a lot of fun together and everyone’s pretty close to each other.”
There is also a change in the schedule for 2012. The Falcons will not play non-league rival St. Francis, which has become an annual lopsided win for the Knights.
“In the league, I’d say Muir will be really good,” Schilling said. “We’ll see how they are. Both the Burbank schools are good. And Arcadia should be good.”
Most of the teams in the Pacific League share a loss of seasoned players such as Muir’s Kevon Seymour and Burroughs’ Zander Anding.
Kyle Tavizon, running back, said the biggest challenge will be Burbank. “Usually, they’re a really good school,” he said.
“They’re good systems,” Schilling said. “Their coaches are good. So it’s kind of who are they going to put the pieces in and we’ll see if they’re as good last year.”
“[Our fortunes] are going to depend on us working together,” added linebacker John Psaltis.
“We have a good shot this year,” Tavizon said. “From the past varsity teams, this team looks pretty good. So I think we can do something this year.”
Falcons Pass Spring Tests … Sort Of
The Falcons had their first passing league tournament earlier in May. Head Coach Paul Schilling said the tournament, named after late CV coach Gordy Warnock, went okay. At the end of the tournament, the Falcons finished 2-2-1. Schilling said that record was not to his expectations, and the team was a little disappointed. They won against Burroughs, who had the No. 1 seed for the playoffs last year in the Pacific League. They also played Marshall (loss), Verdugo Hills (tie), Hart (loss) and Eagle Rock (won). Hart was the tournament winner.
The second passing league was last Saturday, and CV finished 3-3. The Falcons beat Burroughs, Grant, and Birmingham and lost to Nordhoff, Alemany and Taft.
Passing tournaments are held in the spring and summer, and are essentially scrimmages with no pads or helmets, and teams only throw the ball for points.