In the Nick of Time

Photo by Leonard COUTIN
Nick Ruiz (4) was a star for CV again. Ruiz had two interceptions and scored one offensive touchdown.

Ruiz has another solid game, and comes up with a last-second interception to seal a Falcon victory over Muir.


It was a close call for the Falcons’ varsity football team last Friday against Muir. A little too close.

Leading 27-20 Falcons’ star running back Marro Lee had fumbled on CV’s last drive, leaving Muir with a fighting chance with 18 seconds left.

Muir had driven into Falcon territory after converting some first downs despite a sack by Falcon defensive lineman Gillian Powell, his second of the night, around the one-minute mark.

But Muir quarterback Joshua Muema-Washington’s pass was intercepted by cornerback Nick Ruiz at the 10 yard line with just 10 seconds left, and CV held on for a tight victory at Moyse Field.

“I just felt like I had to make a play,” Ruiz said after the game. “We kept our composure at the end.”

Ruiz had two interceptions and also caught four passes on offense for 114 yards and a touchdown.

The Falcons became one of three teams in the Pacific League to be 2-0 in league while the Mustangs dropped to 0-2.

“I was concentrating too much on the line,” Lee said of his fumble. “I didn’t have control of the ball. Today was just a bad day.”

It was about 60 degrees at the time of kickoff, evidence that perhaps colder weather would be in the near future. The CV stands were full, but most of Muir’s fans didn’t make it to the game.

CV had the first opportunity to score, but kicker Pavle Atanackovic missed a 45-yard field goal and the score stayed at 0-0.

Muir drove down the field and quarterback Muema-Washington connected with wide receiver Darick Holmes for a 16-yard touchdown with 6:07 left in the first quarter. Muir missed the extra point, so the score was 6-0.

A 28-yard pass from CV quarterback Zac Wilkerson to Nick Ruiz on the Falcons’ next drive help lead to a CV touchdown. Lee ran 5 yards into the endzone with :19 left in the first quarter, putting the Falcons ahead 7-6.

At the start of the second quarter, Muir’s fumble on the kickoff gave CV the ball on Muir’s 24-yard line. CV failed on an attempted fourth down conversion, giving Muir the ball. When CV got the ball back, Wilkerson threw an interception. Muir couldn’t get a first down, which ultimately set up a 49-yard field goal when CV got the ball back. Atanackovic’s kick was good, bringing the score to 10-6 with CV on top.

In the third quarter, Lee fumbled and Muir had the ball at CV’s 1-yard line. On third and one, CV’s defense came through and sacked Muema-Washington. On fourth and eight, the Mustangs chose to kick a field goal, which was blocked by linebacker Nathan Sarreal.

On CV’s next drive, running back William Wang ran 16 yards and Ruiz scored on a 45- yard touchdown reception.

In the fourth quarter, a Lee touchdown was wiped out by a holding call against the Falcons. The Falcons were forced to settle for a 34-yard field goal with 9:52 left.

A 64-yard touchdown catch by Mustang wide receiver Tarien Owens made the score 20-12. Muir tried an extra point, which was no good, but the Falcons committed a penalty on the play. With better field position, the Mustangs chose to go for a two-point conversion. This time there was a penalty on Muir. The Mustangs elected to go for an extra point, which was again no good.

On the next Muir drive, Muema-Washington was intercepted by Ruiz. Ruiz’s interception and a 21-yard run by Lee set up another Lee touchdown, making the score 27-12 with a little less than three minutes left in the game

It looked like it was over for Muir, but an 85-yard run by Muir’s Kevon Seymour and a two-point conversion made the score 27-20 with 2:23 left in the game. The Falcons stopped Muir’s attempted onside kick but Lee’s fumble gave the Mustangs hope for a win, which was stopped by Ruiz’s interception.

“We’re fired up,” said CV Head Coach Paul Schilling. Schilling talked about how some guys had a big game. “Marro had some big carries. [Ruiz] did a good job.”

Around the league, Burbank High School and Burroughs High School are also 2-0. Arcadia High School, which Schilling said was the “team to beat” before the season started and Pasadena High School are 1-1. Hoover, who the Falcons beat Sept. 30 35-0, Glendale and Muir are 0-2.

In non-league games, CV is 2-1. They beat Santa Paula High School and La Cañada High School, but lost to St. Francis. However, these three games won’t count toward who makes the playoffs. These games could come in effect in terms of playoff seeding.

On Friday, the Falcons travel to Pasadena High School. The game is at 7 p.m. at 2925 E. Sierra Madre Blvd. Schilling said Pasadena is similar to Muir and they have some good athletes, in particular quarterback Brandon Cox. After Pasadena, the team plays Burroughs, Burbank, Glendale and Arcadia.