Titans’ quarterback kicks and tackles in victory as Falcons drop first game. Onto Warnock Memorial Game Friday.
By Brandon HENSLEY
The Falcons’ offense finally showed signs of life midway through the fourth quarter of their Sep. 7 game at San Marino when quarterback Ben Rees found wide receiver Jack Lutynski for a 31-yard touchdown pass along the right sideline. What had been a 13-0 game for a quarter and a half was suddenly just a 13-7 San Marino advantage with 5:39 left in regulation.
But on the Titans’ first play on their next drive, quarterback Matt Wofford broke loose up the middle and ran 70 yards for a score. That made it 20-7 Titans, effectively putting the game out of reach for Crescenta Valley. The end result was a 27-7 loss that wasn’t as bad as the score indicated, but nonetheless made something clear: CV isn’t playing great football – at least not yet.
“We had a terrible week of practice,” said Lutynski. “We had players who didn’t practice due to injuries.”
Lutynski said limited time was given to running back William Wang and receiver/defensive back Chad Eggertson last week for injuries that at least did not prevent them from playing. But there was a lack of spark against the Titans, especially on offense, and the Falcons’ record fell to 1-1.
CV plays La Cañada at Moyse Field at Glendale High on Friday, its first home game of the season.
Wofford was special. He completed 13 of 23 passes for 162 yards, with two interceptions. Despite the two interceptions, CV couldn’t capitalize on either of them. Wofford also played defense and place kicked, converting every extra point and two of three field goals, including a 47-yard attempt late in the second quarter.
“I thought he did great,” said Lutynski. “I don’t know the guy. I thought it was an excellent kick.”
“He’s a great player and their staff does a great job in using him,” said Falcons Coach Paul Schilling.
San Marino led 13-0 at halftime, and looked in control only because CV failed to generate much offense. Wang, who ran for 260 yards the previous game against Santa Paula, was considerably less productive here, as the Titans game plan was designed to stop the run.
As a result, more onus was put on CV’s two junior quarterbacks Rees and Joe Torres. Rees looked more comfortable in the pocket and completed seven passes. Schilling gave more snaps to Rees than to Torres, and after two games it looks like that’s the right decision, although neither is setting the world on fire.
“They’re getting better every time. It’s experience,” said Schilling. “These are two guys where last week was their first varsity contest ever. You could tell what San Marino did, they played [to contain] William and said, ‘We’re not going to give him 260 yards, we’re going to play lots of guys in the box and shut down the run and make them throw,’ … and that was a good moment for [Joe and Ben] … they need more plays.”
Positives for both quarterbacks are that although production was low, neither seemed rattled. Neither has committed a turnover yet and both have displayed the ability to quickly escape pressure and run for first downs. Since last year’s starting quarterback and main receiver – Zac Wilkerson and Nick Ruiz – are gone, it’s expected to take time.
Lutynski was again the main target (he had six catches) and so far has the only receiving touchdown on the year.
“They think it’s better going to me, then go to me,” said Lutynski. “If it’s better to spread it out, then spread it out.”
An example of the Falcons’ need to diversify their offense was the drive after Wofford’s 70-yard score. CV started on its own 28-yard line, and on its seven plays that drive the ball went to just Wang or Lutysnki (and a Rees nine-yard scramble), resulting in a fourth-down incompletion to Lutysnki.
San Marino fullback Nick Gott ran 11 yards for the last score of the game on Titans’ next drive with 14 seconds left.
The Falcons won the turnover battle for the second straight game (Lutynski fumbled at the Titans’ nine-yard line in the third quarter, the only other sustained drive CV had all night). CV has committed only one turnover in two games while forcing six.
Normally this is the part of the schedule when CV would play St. Francis, a game usually one-sided in favor of St. Francis. But the game isn’t scheduled this year, and CV will have a good opportunity to improve to 2-1 on Friday in the annual Gordon Warnock Memorial Game, dedicated to the legendary Falcons coach who guided the program to the 1972 CIF championship.