Both new and familiar faces help CV beat Hoover in homecoming game and will look to end the season strong on Friday
By Brandon HENSLEY
Good to have you back, Jack.
Late in the second quarter of last week’s game against Hoover High School, the missing piece of Crescenta Valley’s offense for the past month showed up in a big way and let everyone know that if everything had gone right this season, the Falcons would probably be playing beyond this week.
That piece would be receiver Jack Lutynski, who scored on a 68-yard connection from junior varsity call-up quarterback Brian Gadsby along the left sideline to give the Falcons a 15-12 lead in a back-and-forth affair.
That kind of big-play potential has been non-existent for CV this past month. Lutynski, who saw limited playing time in his first game back from an MCL tear in his left knee, came back for the ball and out- jumped defender Brendon Kerr, who fell down after, allowing Lutynski to sprint to the end zone.
“The plan was to throw it under, so I could reach back and grab it,” Lutysnki said.
Gadsby agreed, and said he wanted to put the ball “to where Jack could turnaround enough to jump up and catch it. I overthrew it on the first streak to him. I made sure not to do that again.”
CV Coach Paul Schilling said Lutynski is a difference-maker.
“Basically, it was like, ‘Jack go in there and run a streak and we’ll throw it up for you,’” said Schilling.
CV (4-5, 2-4 in Pacific League) ultimately won the team’s homecoming game 21-19, after Kevin Hello blocked a last-minute field-goal attempt by Hoover’s Jesse Pina, saving the Falcons from a disappointing loss to yet another Glendale school.
Alas, Lutynski’s return doesn’t save the team from missing the playoffs, not after the first loss to Glendale High School since 2003 two weeks ago destroyed those hopes.
Still, Lutynski, wearing a new brace courtesy of family friend Don Clifford, was happy to be back after missing a month of action, and said he wasn’t scared to get out there after being cleared to play.
“Not at all,” he said. “I was so excited. I was ready to play.”
Lutynski injured his knee Sept. 28 in a win over Pasadena. The Falcons then proceeded to lose the nest three games, culminating in the shocking 20-17 loss to Glendale.
“We had a really hard week of practice because of the week before. We did not expect to lose to Glendale,” said Schilling.
They redeemed themselves – at least a little – behind a solid rushing attack (William Wang had over 200 yards and two touchdowns) and a defense that was finally to hold Hoover late.
The Falcons sparingly used Gadsby to pass (he completed two of four attempts) back Wang could rarely be stopped and the versatile Kevin Tavizon get plenty of snaps in the second half out of the Wildcat formation with much success.
Passing hasn’t really been the Falcons’ thing this season anyway; they have just four passing touchdowns on the year, three of them going to Lutynski.
CV couldn’t put Hoover away earlier was because of turnovers. The Falcons committed four of them; an interception and three fumbles on handoffs.
“We only scored three touchdowns,” said Schilling. “We never punted. We drove up and down the field and did whatever we wanted, but we couldn’t score [because of the turnovers].”
The Falcons play at Arcadia on Friday to close out the season. Both teams are 4-5 but Arcadia still has a shot to finish in the top three in league and make the playoffs because of its 4-2 league record.
“It’s our UCLA-USC game. It’s a big deal,” said Schilling, who confirmed Lutysnki would play a bigger role in this one than against Hoover.
“They want to save me for Arcadia,” said Lutynski. “That’s the plan.”
The New Guy
The Great Gadsby? His performance didn’t say exactly that, but it was nonetheless an exhilarating experience last week for sophomore quarterback Brian Gadsby.
He said he received word the Monday before the Hoover game that he would start in place of Joe Torres and the still-injured Ben Rees, and by Wednesday his stomach “was in a war.”
“I was nervous, especially in the beginning of the game,” he said. “I was almost about to cry.”
He threw an interception early in the first quarter, something his coaches specifically told him not to do, but by the end he had enough help with his defense and running game where the onus was not on him to carry the team.
“Its helps when you have one of the best running backs in CIF,” said Gadsby, referring to Wang.
Even though he had only two completions, one of them was his first-ever varsity touchdown, the 68-yarder to Lutynski.
“My offensive line helped out, gave me a perfect pocket for every throw,” he said.
Gadsby was on the sideline for CV’s playoff game last year, as well as the Pasadena game this year. But after actually getting on the field and completing his first varsity game now?
“I’m relieved,” he said, while adding that Rees and Torres were supportive the whole week. “They were helping me the whole way. They let me know if I needed help with anything. They were cool.”
“I’m so happy for that kid,” said Lutynski. “He came in and stepped up.”