By Brandon HENSLEY
After a month-long layoff, the CIF champions were back at it this week, gearing up for a season where they’ll be in an unfamiliar position. That position, for the first time in 43 years, is at the top of the hill, because that’s where the Crescenta Valley Falcon football team resides as kings.
After a dominant 2014 season, when the Falcons captured their first CIF championship since 1972, the team will look to continue success against a schedule that looks the same as last year.
The Falcons open up on the road against Verdugo Hills on Sept. 3. It will be the third straight season the teams square off. Crescenta Valley won the first two matchups handily.
For the second straight season, CV will face Golden Valley, and the last non-league game will once again be played against La Cañada, the annual Gordy Warnock Memorial Game. The Falcons have won seven consecutive non-league games.
While the Falcons finish off the season on Nov. 5 against rival Arcadia, the interesting part of the schedule will most likely come against the Burbank-area schools. Burbank High comes to Moyse Field on Sept. 25. The teams played one of the most memorable games in recent history in 2013, a high-scoring overtime thriller won by the Falcons at their homecoming game.
Last year, Burbank’s star running back James Williams was injured, and CV won a hard-fought game 24-10. This year, the Bulldogs will have to find a replacement for Williams and quarterback Ryan Meredith, who both graduated.
Burroughs is often called the most well-coached team in the Pacific League by CV Coach Paul Schilling. The Indians went 6-4 last year, good for fourth place in league, and lost to CV 48-21. The teams play again in the season’s penultimate game on Oct. 30.
The Muir Mustangs have long-dominated the league, but last year CV defeated them at Muir, 38-26, on the road to claiming its first league title since 2004. Muir (6-5 overall last season) is expected to have a down year, at least by its standards. Earlier this summer, Schilling called them a wild card, not knowing what to expect from either them or the other Pasadena team, the Bulldogs.
Crescenta Valley, which has won 15 games in a row dating back to 2013, is looking to replace quarterback Brian Gadsby, running back Jonathan Jun, and receivers Connor Van Ginkle and Chase Walker, all of whom played pivotal offensive roles last season. On defense, they’ll have to replace lineman Davo Hakobyan, Matt Erickson and Jordan Lobianco, who was named 2014 Pacific League MVP.
Currently, junior Ty Hill and senior Evan Nelson are battling for the starting quarterback position. Senior Bostin Lakin was a great two-way player last year. Look for him to contribute in the same way as well. The team is also looking for Colin Caver (tight end, linebacker) and Brandon Beardt (running back, defensive back) to be key contributors as well.