By Brandon HENSLEY
With the school year now beginning in August, the impatience of athletes and coaches to start their fall seasons is growing.
Fortunately for everyone involved, the games are almost here.
The Crescenta Valley High School football program kicks off its season on Sept. 3. The varsity team will travel to Verdugo Hills High and play its third straight regular season game against the Dons. The defending CIF Southeast Division champions say they’re prepared and excited to get things going.
“We’re hitting it hard right now,” said senior lineman Nazir Abou-Chakra. Abou-Chakra and his fellow linemen have been pushing themselves in the weight room, with high weights and low reps to build muscle.
The Falcons hope to flex that muscle on the field. With Brian Gadsby now at UCLA, presumed new starting quarterback Ty Hill will see what he can do with the opportunity. Hill’s athletic attributes – strong arm, but more of an ability to run the ball than Gadbsy – will give CV many options on how to score the ball.
“It’s a new experience, but I’m ready to take it on. I’m confident in my abilities,” Hill said.
“We completely changed up our offense this year. It’s surrounded around the players we have,” said Abou-Chakra. “It’s perfect for us.”
Senior Bostin Lakin will no doubt be a key player on both sides of the ball, and Hill will look for Lakin’s sure hands on offense.
“I haven’t seen him drop a single pass all summer,” Abou-Chakra said.
Hill will also anchor a strong defense, as he will once again play safety. CV put a hurt on the Pacific League last year, going 10-0 and winning league for the first time in a decade. CV will face those opponents, plus the same non-league teams from 2014, in Verdugo Hills, Golden Valley and La Cañada.
“I don’t see us losing. It’s the same schedule as last year,” Abou-Chakra said.
In boy’s water polo, the Falcons varsity team will open its season on Sept. 11 at a tournament in Conejo. They play a slew of tournament games for several weeks after, and then host Pacific League opponent Hoover High on Oct. 6.
Led by Coach Jan Sakonju, the team was 20-9 last season and made it to the CIF Division IV semifinals season before losing to top-ranked Righetti, 14-4. This year, they return senior goalkeeper Logan Goddard, but will have to find a way to replace the departing Griffin Harting, Trevor Goddard and Omar Trad.
With new girls’ volleyball Head Coach Kevin Boyke, the Lady Falcons will open their season Sept. 17 at Hoover. They conclude the season Nov. 3 at Arcadia High. The team’s record was under .500 last year, and CV missed the playoffs.
Cross-country will also get underway this fall. The 48th annual Staub/Barnes Cross Country Invite is Saturday, Oct. 3 at Crescenta Valley Park. First race is at 8:15 a.m.