By Brandon HENSLEY
It was fun while it lasted. It was a lot of fun actually, but on Thursday night in a stadium that was half as full as it was 10 months ago for the CIF championship game, the Crescenta Valley High football teams’ winning streak came to an end, stopping at sweet 16.
The Falcons were overmatched on both sides of the ball as the Golden Valley Grizzlies came to Moyse Field and abruptly ended any hopes Crescenta Valley had of another undefeated season. They pushed CV’s offensive line around, sacking quarterback Ty Hill nine times. On offense, they sustained long drives for scores. In short, it wasn’t a fun night for Falcons fans.
Grizzlies 39, Falcons 20.
“It was just a matter of, gosh, they just beat us,” said Head Coach Paul Schilling. “They were just better than us, really in every aspect of the game.”
The Falcons hadn’t lost since Week 9 of the 2013 season against John Muir. Since that game, thanks to a stifling defense and an explosive offense, CV was able to put together the best run in school history, winning a league title and a CIF banner last year, while capturing the hearts of the community along the way.
Now it’s back to work.
Crescenta Valley dropped to 1-1, with one more non-Pacific League game remaining, Sept. 18 at La Cañada High, before the team hosts Burbank Sept. 25.
The first quarter played like two teams who would be locked into a tight, low-scoring affair, as Golden Valley led just 7-0. But the Grizzlies’ offense picked up in the second quarter, finding success running and throwing up the middle. Meanwhile, CV’s offense was stuck in neutral, thanks to bad snaps and poor blocking. The score at halftime was 22-0.
It probably was a sign this night wasn’t going to go well when Grizzlies’ quarterback Victor Corona’s first pass of the game was intercepted and then promptly fumbled away by CV, giving the ball back to Golden Valley, which scored later on the drive.
In the second quarter, Corona led an 89-yard drive, resulting in a score and a two-point conversion. On the next drive, Corona completed a 24-yard touchdown pass to an untouched Alex Escamilla on fourth down, and the route was on.
“We knew what they were going to do. We were prepared, but their guys were better than our guys up front,” Schilling said.
While Hill made some poor throws in the season-opening win over Verdugo Hills, in this game he didn’t have much time to make any decision except to run away from defenders as fast as he could. The offensive line was porous all night, making it hard to establish either the running game for Brandon Beardt, or to give Hill time to throw.
“We didn’t do a good job giving [Ty] protection,” Schilling said. “He’s getting better, made some plays. Running the ball he was awesome.”
Hill finished five of 11 passing with two touchdowns and an interception, which came in the second quarter when the ball went off the chest of Andrew Traber and into the arms of a defender.
Again, like last week, he made the most of his running ability. CV came out strong in the second half, stopping Golden Valley on three plays, and then finally scoring thanks to the power running of Hill when the Falcons reached the red zone.
But The Grizzlies (2-1) answered right back, taking only 1:38 off the clock as they went 78 yards, culminating in a 12-yard run up the middle to make to 29-7.
Hill recorded his first touchdown passes of the season in the fourth quarter, a five-yard rollout to Bostin Lakin, and later a strike to Traber that went for 49 yards. In those moments, the line did a solid job of giving him time, and Hill looked comfortable. Maybe because the game had already been decided, and Golden Valley wasn’t playing as hard, but either way, it’s something the team can build on.
Players had high expectations going into the season, but it’s clear everyone still needs time to get used to the players they lost from last year’s great team.
“It’s a transition. I don’t want to say we’re rebuilding. It’s kind of a reload,” Schilling said. “We’ll be okay. It’s good for us. Right now you feel bad but we’ll rally back.”
Kick-off against the Spartans on Sept. 18 at La Cañada is set for 7 p.m.