By Brian PARK
CV Weekly Intern
After a devastating loss to Burbank, the Falcons rebounded to spur their playoff hopes by beating Glendale 56-14 on Friday night. Both sidelines were filled with emotion in this game because it was the first game in which the Falcons faced former Crescenta Valley coach Alan Eberhart, currently the Glendale head coach.
The Falcons received the kickoff to start at the 22-yard line. Runningback Tanner Hamilton started the drive out strong with a decent run of seven yards. On the next play, speedster quarterback Kyle Cota kept the football to run for 60 yards before getting taken down at the Glendale nine yard line. A false start penalty was called on the Falcons on the next play, creating a first and 15 situation. Runningback Harry Pessy ran through the Nitros defensive line, going for 10 yards. Runningback receiver hybrid Dai Dai McFadden carried the ball to the outside to score a touchdown with 10:09 left in the first quarter, putting the Falcons up 7-0.
The Glendale offense came out throwing, lining up in the pass formation for the entire first drive. The drive started with a pass being broken up, and a short pass before Nitros quarterback Moises Chavez threw deep, putting Glendale along the 30-yard line. The Falcon defensive line got fired up after the pass, getting three consecutive sacks and even blocking the punt. The Falcons offense took the field at midfield. On the first play, Cota threw a touchdown pass to receiver Mike Bako, putting the Falcons up 14-0 and bringing the defense out again.
The Falcon defense looked tired from not getting any rest, missing tackles to let Glendale get down the field. Glendale kept true to their passing offense, only running the ball twice while passing several times. The Glendale drive was capped by a touchdown pass by Glendale quarterback Moises Chavez bringing the Nitros within seven points.
On the following kickoff, Hamilton received and ran for a touchdown, drawing comparisons to Reggie Bush from the crowd.
Glendale got the ball back and stuck with the passing offense. The Glendale drive started with a dropped pass and incompletion leaving a dim third and 10 position. On the following play, the Falcons were flagged for a pass interference giving the Glendale Nitros a first down. After a sack on the Nitros quarterback and a few incompletions, the Falcons got the ball back.
Pessy ran the ball for six yards to open up the Falcon possession. Cota then threw a screen pass to McFadden, who ran for the first down. Cota followed by throwing a 20 yard pass to Bako and a flurry of flags came parading down. A holding call was overruled by the late hit that Glendale had, giving the Falcons a first down. After an incomplete pass, Pessy caught a pass from Cota for 10 yards. McFadden then caught a 47 yard touchdown pass, one of his many scores throughout the night.
The Falcon kickoff went into the end zone, creating a touchback for the Nitros. After a quick three and out for the Nitros, the Falcons had the ball back. Although Cota got a bad snap, the Falcon offensive line gave him enough time to throw a pass to McFadden for a gain of eight yards. Cota then kept the football and ran 10 yards for the first down. On the play after the first down, Cota was almost picked off. He didn’t make that mistake again and threw a screen pass to Pessy, who dominated defenders to score a touchdown to put the Falcons up 35-7.
Glendale took the ensuing kickoff to their 35 to start with good field position. The Falcon defensive line did again what they had been doing all night long, and sacked the Glendale quarterback twice in a row. On the fourth down, Glendale went for the first down and was successful in the feat. The Nitros quarterback then threw a touchdown pass to bring the score to 35-14.
Glendale tried for the onside kick, which went to gargantuan lineman Sam Campbell, who carried it for 15 yards with clumps of people trying to bring him down. The Falcon drive was unsuccessful, leading to a punt that pinned the Nitros to their endzone. The Falcons then intercepted the ball, bringing it to the six yard line. McFadden ran for yet another touchdown, extending the Falcon lead to 42-14.
The Falcons kicked off to start the second half, and only let the Nitros get to the 18-yard line. Bryon Luna had a sack of 8 yards on the failed Glendale possession. Glendale punted to Hamilton, who returned the punt for a touchdown, while juking defenders and breaking tackles.
Two minutes into the second half, with the score at 49-14, it seemed as though the game was decided. Some people were leaving the game with still another quarter to go because the Falcons had such a wide lead.
Although the Falcons had a 35 point lead, they were not finished yet. The defense forced and recovered a fumble, leaving the offense to do their thing. Cota had several completions on this drive, which ended with Pessy rushing for the final Falcon touchdown of the night, putting the Falcons up 56-14 for good. With a lot of time left, most of the bench players got a chance play.
After the sloppy loss to Burbank, the Falcons proved their worth with the win against Glendale.
“We did things better this week. We practiced better, had better preparation and we had the right mentality,” said Falcon Coach Tony Zarillo. “It isn’t about the opponent, it’s about us and I think we showed our capability today.”