Falcon football scored a huge win last week, but must maintain focus on a Glendale team looking for another upset.
By Brandon HENSLEY
Earlier this week, Rosemont Middle School basketball coach Brent Ballard was minutes away from getting his team ready for a game at Toll Middle School before he stopped and mentioned the Crescenta Valley High School football game last week.
“That had to be one of the top five games in that program’s history,”
Mathew Schick, CV High’s band director, called the game “one for the ages.”
Seems like Falcon football is taking off around town.
Whatever bad feelings anyone had two weeks ago in a seemingly devastating loss to Burroughs, those were erased last Friday at the team’s homecoming game against the Burbank Bulldogs. The Falcons won in a back-and-forth thriller, capped off in overtime when quarterback Brian Gadsby hit receiver Chase Walker in the endzone for a two-point conversion to win the game moments after CV had drawn to within one point on a Chase Walker touchdown catch.
The 48-47 victory represented the Falcons’ desire to stay relevant, something their 4-0 start made them around school before dropping the Burroughs game. Had the Falcons lost to Burbank, they would have fallen to 4-2 on the season, and while they still would have been able to make the playoffs, a Pacific League title shot probably would have been out of the question.
The Falcons were manhandled by Burroughs in the second half when they blew a 17-0 lead and lost 24-17. Burbank was the favorite coming into last week, having been 5-0 and destroying its opponents, but now the landscape is changing after the Falcons’ crazy win.
“You can tell now we’re a lot more confident and now we can beat anyone,” said Kevin Hello, whose team is 5-1. Hello rushed for 108 yards and two touchdowns in the game. He still admitted the thought of them being 6-0 at this point was “heartbreaking” because of the Burroughs game.
“That’s our team being stupid,” he said of the missed opportunity. “Against Burbank, we knew that too much was on the line to come out flat, so in the second half we came out firing just like in the first half.”
The Burbank game wasn’t your typical CV win where Gadsby is usually the most talked about player afterward. True to form, he threw two more touchdown passes, giving him 21 this year and, just as a reminder, CV collectively threw four touchdown passes all of last year.
But Kyle Tavizon was back after missing every game up to that point with a broken arm. Tavizon scored two rushing touchdowns, and with him and Hello doing heavy groundwork, Gadsby said it won’t just be about throwing the ball anymore.
“It helps having a big running game,” he said. “The defense can’t just watch the pass. It confuses them.”
While looking back to last week has brought good feelings to the team, the players and coaches are looking back approximately one year ago for motivation this week.
Last year, with CV 3-4 and fighting for its playoff life, Glendale came in and ruined the season, capturing a 20-17 comeback win – Glendale’s first over CV since 2003. The Falcons controlled most of that game behind running back William Wang, but couldn’t get anything going on offense in the second half, and Glendale used a trick play to score the game-winning touchdown late in the fourth quarter.
“I don’t know how many times I’ve heard it from our coaches but they keep saying [the Glendale game] was the one they’re never going to forget and that it was one of the worst games we’ve played,” said Hello.
Hello also noted coaches have used the word “revenge” several times recently, and said the team is motivated to not let what happened last year occur again, especially considering how good everyone is feeling after the Burbank win.
“I don’t want to go out and win games against teams like Burbank and then at the end say that Glendale ruined our season, or cost us the title,” Hello said.
Glendale is 0-2 in league, 2-4 overall.
While Tavizon is back now, receiver Connor Van Ginkel is still at least a week away from returning. He injured his collarbone in Week 2 vs. San Marino. Van Ginkel was expected to be a big part of the passing attack. He’s at least now out of his sling and exercising to get back in game shape, said Gadsby.
Receiver Ben Rees, who has 21 catches for five touchdowns, suffered a concussion last week and will miss this week. As previously mentioned, receivers Weston Walker (Chase’s brother) and Bostin Lakin are done for the year with collarbone and shoulder injuries.
But the Falcons are carrying on with renewed confidence after one of the biggest games in recent memory. Gadsby tried to pinpoint why the team has been successful so far.
“I don’t think it’s the talent,” he said. “I think it’s the team. We’re all bonding and we are like a family. Last year’s team was not like that. We were a little self-centered. But this year we’re like brothers.”
Creating a Buzz
While soccer and basketball have been main points of conversation around school the past few years, football may finally coming back into the fold in terms of fanfare. Players were congratulated at the homecoming dance on Saturday, and faculty members have also recognized the team this week.
“People just go there to hang out,” said Gadsby about the atmosphere at the games. “But now they’re actually paying attention to us. It feels good. It makes us want to win more, for our school and the crowd that’s coming to watch us.”
It helps to have such a memorable game for people to talk about.
“I’m never going to forget that game,” Hello said. “You could tell everyone was into it. I’ve never heard the stands cheer like that.”
Gadsby, who pitches for the CV baseball team, compared it to the win last May over Arcadia when Ted Boeke hit a two-run homer in the top of the seventh inning, which proved the difference in the game and gave the Falcons a Pacific League title.
“I don’t think anyone at the game, from the crowd, the team, or the Burbank side, will ever forget this game,” he said.
The Muir Mustangs are 3-0 in league, the only undefeated team remaining (they are 5-1 overall, just like CV). The Falcons, Burbank, Burroughs and Arcadia are all 2-1 in league. Ostensibly, Muir presents the hardest challenge left for CV in the regular season. The teams play each other Nov. 1 at Glendale High School. If no one else gets injured and the Falcons play up to their capability, there’s no reason they shouldn’t finish at least 8-2 at the end of the year.