By Brandon HENSLEY
While class is back in session at Crescenta Valley High School, so are the practices for the Falcon varsity football team. Players have been off since mid-July, having last played a casual passing game against some of the alumni.
This week the team’s schedule included weight training on Monday, Wednesday and Friday with on-field practice after, while Tuesday and Thursday were on-field practices only, said assistant coach Hudson Gossard.
The team schedule was made available several weeks ago, and CV’s first game will be at Verdugo Hills High School as the Falcons take on the Dons on Sept. 6. Last year for its first game, the Falcons drove over 50 miles to Santa Paula on Aug. 31, scratching out a 26-21 victory over the Cardinals.
Crescenta Valley played Santa Paula the last two years, but it won’t this year, and it’s also the second year St. Francis is not on the schedule. It’s probably just as well. The Golden Knights, a private school team, routinely dominated CV in its annual meetings.
The second annual Gordy Warnock Game between the Falcons and the La Cañada Spartans is Sept. 20 at La Cañada. Warnock, who passed away in 2010, was coach of the Falcons from 1966 to 1976 and won a CIF title in 1973.
The non-Pacific League portion of the schedule once again includes the San Marino Titans, who beat CV last year at San Marino. The regular season wraps up with a home game against league rival Arcadia on Nov. 7. The Falcons beat the Apaches at Arcadia in last season’s finale, behind quarterback Brian Gadsby’s second ever varsity start.
CV went 5-5 in 2012 and missed the playoffs behind second year head coach Paul Schilling. Wide receiver Jack Lutynski missed three games in the middle of the season when he damaged a knee ligament in a win over Pasadena. CV lost all three games, and while it seems odd to blame the struggles of a team that is composed of almost 50 players on one guy, it was obvious Lutynski was sorely missed. Sure enough, he returned for the final two games of the year and the Falcons were victorious in both.
This year, without Lutynski as well as running back William Wang, who both graduated, it will be more of a cumulative effort on offense.
Seniors Kevin Hello and Ben Rees, and juniors Kyle Tavizon, Chase Walker, Weston Walker and Connor Van Ginkel will have to play an important role for quarterback Brian Gadsby if the Falcons want to return to the playoffs after a one-year absence.
“We didn’t have an identity [last year]. This year we have all these good receivers,” Schilling said.
Gadsby, a junior, comes in as the starting quarterback with senior Joe Torres as backup. Senior Ben Rees, who played quarterback last year as well, has now moved over to receiver and as a safety on defense.
“I think he likes it,” said Schilling of Rees’ new role. “It takes the pressure off of him. He’s been really good playing receiver … I think it’s good for him.”
Torres was the starting quarterback for most of 2012, but he’s now a backup. Both he and Gadsby said in July there are no hard feelings about what has transpired, and that team goals outweigh what any individual might do.
Both have been teammates on the Falcon varsity baseball team for a couple of years, Gadsby as a pitcher and Torres and a pitcher and infielder. The baseball team won its second straight league title in May.
Van Ginkel and Hello will play defensive back, along with senior Juho Kim, but they’ll miss their teammate Chad Eggertson, a key DB from his time as a Falcon who graduated in June. At linebacker, CV will count on both Walker boys as well as senior Austin Brines.
Since school started early this year, and the first game isn’t until Sept. 6, Schilling said that gives the team more time to adjust to the practice schedule so the workload isn’t so demanding. Basically, he said, what older generations know as Hell Week is a thing of the past.
“The advantage is we have more days of practice this year before the first game,” he said. “So you don’t have the double days, but you have more time, which might be better this day and age, instead of just killing your guys.”
Home games are in bold and will be played at Glendale High School.
Sept. 6 @ Verdugo Hills 7 p.m.
Sept. 12 San Marino 7 p.m.
Sept. 20 @ La Cañada 7 p.m.
Sept. 27 @ Pasadena 7 p.m.
Oct. 4 @ Burroughs 7 p.m.
Oct. 11 Burbank 7 p.m.
Oct. 18 Glendale 7 p.m.
Oct. 25 @ Hoover (Glendale H.S.) 7 p.m.
Nov. 1 Muir 7 p.m.
Nov. 7 Arcadia 7 p.m.