By Maddy PUMILIA
After suffering a lopsided defeat against St. Francis two weeks ago, the Falcons honored their former coach Gordon Warnock by winning last Friday’s game at La Cañada, 35-14.
Warnock was a part of Falcon football for more than 40 years. As head coach, he led the Falcons to their only CIF title in 1973. Warnock died last year just before the Falcons took on La Cañada.
Because of this and how much he meant to the Falcon team, the game against La Cañada will be known as Gordy’s Game every year.
CV started out the game with the ball, defending the north goal. A nearly six-minute drive led to running back Marro Lee’s 5-yard touchdown. Lee also had a few nice runs and wide receiver Nick Ruiz caught a few passes during the opening drive.
But Lee was the star of the game. He ran for 205 yards on 26 carries and three touchdowns, a better effort than he showed in the previous game against St. Francis, where he was held to 24 yards rushing.
After the game, Lee said the key for him was holding onto the ball.
“That’s something I really try to emphasize,” he said. Last year, he had two fumbles vs. La Cañada. The Falcons still won the game, but only by four points.
For the passing offense, Ruiz and tackle Armon Pashai were ejected during the Santa Paula game and were suspended against St. Francis because of it. Against St. Francis, quarterback Zac Wilkerson said he was under pressure because of Pashai being gone.
“It feels great [to be back],” Ruiz said. “It wasn’t fun last week.”
The Spartans fumbled the ensuing kickoff and CV’s Masis Ohanesian recovered at the Falcon 45-yard line. On this drive, Wilkerson almost got sacked, but completed a 31-yard pass to Ruiz, setting up a 15-yard scoring run by Patrick Kim with four minutes left in the first quarter. The score became 14-0.
Tight end Justin Springfield’s catch in the second quarter set up another CV touchdown – a sweep to Lee. Lee, scoring his second touchdown for the day, made the score 21-0.
Ruiz fumbled a Spartan punt, giving La Cañada a break. Ruiz said he let his eye off the ball. La Cañada attempted a 39-yard field goal, which was no good. With about a minute left in the half, the score was still 21-0.
To open the second half, a kickoff return by Franklin Cervenka to the Crescenta Valley 29-yard line left La Cañada in good field position. For the most part though, CV head Coach Paul Schilling said the team did better on special teams. He said that kicker/punter Pavle Atanackovic played well. A 21-yard run gave La Cañada a touchdown, leaving the score 21-7 with 10 minutes to go in the third quarter.
A couple drives later and Lee got another touchdown after running 22 yards. The score jumped to 28-7 with eight minutes left in the fourth quarter. La Cañada had a fumble, but recovered the ball. When the Falcons got the ball, Ruiz fumbled, committing his second turnover. Ruiz said the fumble was a “mental lapse” after he let the ball come out of his hands.
Cervenka scored from 21-yards out for La Cañada, making the score 28-14 with two minutes left. La Cañada tried an onside kick, but was unsuccessful. Lee ran 36 yards, setting up a 5-yard score for David Oh with less than a minute left.
“We played really tough today,” Lee added.
Schilling said at times, the team played well. He said that being 2-1 was a realistic goal the team had.
“Anytime you win, you’re happy,” Schilling added. “We give up too many plays on third down. We give up too many penalties.”
Crescenta Valley High School fans travel well – the visitor stands were packed. Some CV fans sat in the La Cañada section. A sign that said “CV Overflow” hung over a portion of the La Cañada bleachers. The CV band, cheerleaders and two Falcon mascots were also in attendance.
At Friday’s game, football players passed out free wristbands to honor Warnock. The Falcon colored wristbands read: “GW 9/22/2010” on one side and “We’re Going To War” on the other. There is a CLIF Award scholarship fund set up in Gordy’s name, which aims to help Falcons continue their education. To donate, go to www.cvhsfalcons.com, click “online store” then “Gordon Warnock Memorial Fund” and follow the directions.
Friday, the Falcons take on their first Pacific League opponent, Hoover High School. The game is at Glendale High. Santa Paula, St. Francis and La Cañada were non-league games. Only league games count towards the playoffs. Non-league games only come in effect when it comes to playoff seeding. Hoover is 0-3 after losing 34-21 to Mountain View High School last week. On Oct. 7, the Falcons play Muir High School at Glendale High School. On Oct. 14, the team will play Pasadena High School in Pasadena. After Pasadena, the team plays Burroughs, Burbank, Glendale and Arcadia.
Breaking down the team so far
The Falcons are 2-1 on the early season, and that’s pretty much where Schilling thought they would be coming in to 2011. A victory over Santa Paula should have been more comfortable then it was, and the Falcons took it on the chin against St. Francis, getting shut out 35-0. But losing to the Golden Knights has become tradition around these parts. Fortunately for CV, what’s also become tradition is beating La Cañada, as was the case last week.
Lee was sensational, and Wilkerson looked much more comfortable than he did against the Knights’ pounding defense. Lee is averaging 120 rushing yards a game and his garnering attention from Division III schools, according to him and Schilling. Wilkerson is averaging 141 passing yards with two passing scores, and it’s apparent the Falcons like to go to the ground game more than the air. CV is averaging 25 points a game, and of their nine touchdowns, seven of them have been rushing.
Defensively, CV is giving up 27 points a game. They looked mediocre against Santa Paula, overmatched by St. Francis, but solid last week. Now comes the league portion of the schedule, and it should be an opening victory Friday vs. Hoover. The Tornadoes are winless, and according to Schilling, still trying to find an identity.