By Brandon HENSLEY
Tyler Hill called it a redemption game. Judging from the results Friday night, he and his teammates can be satisfied knowing they achieved their goal.
Hill was strong at quarterback, going 10 of 16 for 139 yards and a touchdown pass as his Crescenta Valley Falcons cruised to a 35-3 non-Pacific league win over the Spartans at La Cañada High School.
It was the annual Gordy Warnock Memorial Game, in honor of the late Falcon coach who passed away in 2010. It was also an opportunity for the Falcon pep squad to showcase some CV pride on the Spartans’ home turf. Prior to kickoff, the players ran through a painted banner that read “Straight Outta CVHS,” mimicking the logo from the hit movie “Straight Outta Compton.”
Overall, the Falcons played much better than in Week 2 vs. Golden Valley, in which CV was pushed around for a 19-point loss, ending the program’s 16-game winning streak dating back to 2013.
Hill said players didn’t look at the loss as a disappointment, but rather as an opportunity to prove they’re still a team to be reckoned with.
“We need to go out there with our heads high and come out with a win. We needed to show the community what CV football is,” Hill said.
Behind Hill and three rushing touchdowns from Brandon Beardt, the offense looked formidable against the Spartans (2-2). Crescenta Valley’s first four drives ended with touchdowns. Thanks to the Falcons’ defense, the offense consistently had good field position.
Crescenta Valley (2-1) forced three turnovers in the first half, two fumbles and a Bostin Lakin interception. The Falcons converted the fumbles into scores. The interception was succeeded by a Hill incompletion on the last play of the half.
“It felt like last week; we couldn’t get out of our own way. We couldn’t get any breaks. We got some tonight,” said CV Head Coach Paul Schilling.
The defense was a veritable brick wall, at least compared to the Golden Valley showing. Neither Spartan quarterback Daniel McGowin nor the running game could get much going against CV’s front line, which was routinely pushed around in Week 2. Down 28-0, the Spartans converted a 40-yard field goal in the third quarter, and missed a 39-yarder in the fourth. That was it for their scoring opportunities.
Notably absent on defense was Hill, who was an All-CIF safety last season. He played safety the first games of this year, but was kept out to focus more on his quarterback play in this game. It is, after all, Hill’s first season playing the position.
“Every week he’s going to get more comfortable,” Schilling said. “The quarterback position is so mentally challenging.”
Hill completed five of his first seven passes. The offense hasn’t opened up yet to where Hill is throwing darts all over the field, but he clearly looked more comfortable than he had previously, hitting receivers in stride on post routes and for tight passes on the sideline.
“I’m just feeling a lot more comfortable in the pocket,” he said. “Being able to take my drop and feel confident. The first two games, being a new quarterback, it was different.”
Hill’s touchdown pass came with 33 seconds left in the first quarter when he found Lakin on a receiver screen, and Lakin took it to the house for 18 yards. Lakin also ran for another score, a 13-yard dash to the right side with 1:49 left in the first half.
Beardt capped off the scoring, taking an inside pitch from Hill early in the fourth and finding his way to the end zone from 16 yards out.
That concludes the non-league portion of the schedule for this season. The Falcons open up league against Burbank High on Friday at 7 p.m. at Glendale High School. The Falcons currently hold an eight-game winning streak against the rest of the league.