Falcon football 4-1 heading into its homecoming game against the Bulldogs. Kyle Tavizon finally returns this week as well.
By Brandon HENSLEY
Home sweet home? For the Falcons, they’ll sure have a chance to find out.
Crescenta Valley ended its first half of the season last week at Burroughs, which, if you hadn’t heard by now, was a crushing 24-17 loss, a game in which the Falcons dominated for three quarters only to give up one big play after another in the fourth.
The Burroughs attack was led by receiver Aiden Anding, who took a pass from quarterback Steven Williams, broke some tackles and finished a 37-yard score that gave the Indians the lead late in the fourth quarter. On the next drive, Falcon quarterback Brian Gadsby was picked off – his second interception of the game – and that ended CV’s undefeated season.
Perhaps it’s not that the Falcons lost, it’s how they lost. Although their offense wasn’t on top of its usual game, the team led Burroughs 17-3 in the fourth with no signs the Indians were on their way back.
But bad tackling and miscues, like Gadsby’s interceptions and a bad snap on a punt attempt, kept Burroughs alive long enough to deal Aiden’s death knell.
“It was a killer loss last week,” said linebacker Austin Brines on Tuesday. “Everything that could have gone wrong went wrong.”
CV fell to 1-1 in Pacific League play, while Burroughs is 2-0 (3-2 overall).
Now CV gets to play all of its remaining games on its home turf at Glendale High School, and Friday is the homecoming game against the best team in league, the Burbank Bulldogs (5-0 overall).
Led by quarterback Ryan Meredith, who has thrown for 806 yards with 12 touchdowns and no interceptions, the Bulldogs are averaging 48.2 points per game, while giving up just 10.8 points.
Sounds like a tall order for the Falcons.
“It makes this game a little bigger for us,” Brines said. “A little easier to prepare, easier to get up for. It’s the homecoming game. If we can’t get up for this game, then we don’t deserve to win a Pacific League title. We’ll see what we’re made of this week.”
The Falcons will have Kyle Tavizon on the field for the first time this season. Head Coach Paul Schilling confirmed this week he’ll play Friday, saying Tavizon is excited to go but there is a question of how long he can stay.
Brines actually broke Tavizon’s right arm while tackling him in an August practice. Tavizon, a junior, was supposed to be a versatile weapon out of the backfield and lined up as a receiver. Finally, the Falcons will get to see if that’s the case.
They certainly need all the help they can health-wise. CV is still at least a couple weeks away from receiver Connor Van Ginkel returning (out since Week 2) and receivers Weston Walker and Bostin Lakin are both done for the year.
Without those players, Gadsby seems to be leaning on junior Jordan LoBianco a lot more. LoBianco caught nine passes for 111 yards last week, and has been a lightning rod for CV all season.
LoBianco executed a great stop n’ go route in the second half, breaking free down the sideline, but Gadsby missed him with a pass that was just out of reach. That might have put the game away for the Falcons.
Gadsby was 22-of-40 passing for 251 yards, with one touchdown and two interceptions. As a testament to his stellar play this year, those were his first two picks this season.
The loss last week also ended a six-game winning streak dating back to October of last year for CV. Gadsby’s first ever varsity start was the beginning of the six-game run, so last week was his first ever varsity loss.
If CV loses this one, they’ll fall to 4-2 and 1-2 in league. There still would be plenty of time to make that up and advance to the CIF playoffs. Besides Burbank, the only other team left on the schedule that could be favored against the Falcons is Muir, on Nov. 1.
If everything goes right, and judging from recent CV history we know that’s not always the case, the Falcons should notch victories against Hoover, Glendale and Arcadia, giving them at least seven wins.
Brines, though, said his team is focused only on Friday in what he hopes is a lively atmosphere.
“Every single person on our team will be really, really excited to participate,” he said. “What better way to play under the lights in front of that many people? It’s just awesome.”
Hill Getting it Done
Several months ago, Tyler Hill was at Rosemont Middle School leading his team to the flag football championship in that league. High school varsity football is a different animal, though, but Hill seems to be fitting in fine so far.
He’s averaging 8.2 tackles a game, and within the last two games he’s caused a fumble and recorded his first interception.
“That first game we said, ‘Oh we have a freshman starting on defense. Let’s see what he can do.’ But he’s been making plays,” Brines said. “It’s been amazing to see how well he’s played, especially for being a freshman.”
The Falcons are 1-1 in league, tied with Arcadia but behind Burbank, Muir and Burroughs (all 2-0.) Hoover, Glendale and Pasadena are 0-2. After Friday, CV will host Glendale at Glendale High School on Oct. 18 at 7 p.m.