With the last regular season game tonight, the Falcons have several potential playoff scenarios, including not making it at all.
By Brandon HENSLEY
With the Arcadia Apaches in town as the regular season comes to a close today, it’s easy to remember where Crescenta Valley High School football was one year ago.
The Falcons were playing out the string behind sophomore quarterback Brian Gadsby, who had been called up to varsity for the final two games. Because making the playoffs weren’t a possibility, the team was carefree heading into its final game against Arcadia, which ended up being a 23-7 victory.
CV finished a disappointing 5-5, but with hope that if Gadsby could build on his Arcadia performance – 220 yards passing, one touchdown – 2013 could be promising.
Despite last week’s turnover-filled loss to Muir, that promise, for the most part, has been fulfilled. If CV beats Arcadia tonight at Glendale High School, it’ll finish the season 8-2 with the strong hope of playing in the CIF playoffs.
“We were so loose. We had nothing to lose, just letting it all hang out,” Head Coach Paul Schilling said, recalling last November. “It was easy to go out there with a little swagger. It’s more pressure now but we’d rather be in this scenario.”
And boy, talk about scenarios. The easiest way for the Falcons to get in is for them to beat Arcadia (5-4, 3-3 in the Pacific League) and have Burroughs beat Burbank on Friday. That would mean CV takes third place in league, and the top three spots in league are guaranteed to make the postseason.
If CV beats Arcadia but Burbank wins over Burroughs, there would be a three-way tie for second place by those teams, and a three-way coin flip would come into play. If CV wins the flip, no problem, it’s in.
What determines the tie-breakers are head-to-head matchups, so if Burroughs wins the flip, it would get second place and CV would get third because it beat Burbank in its matchup this year. But if Burbank wins the flip, Burroughs would get third and CV would get fourth because CV blew a 17-0 lead and lost to Burroughs.
If CV is fourth, it has to rely on getting an at-large bid from the CIF, which only takes one at-large from the Southeast Division, where the Falcons play. Schilling said he thinks the team that gets the bid will come from either the Pacific League or the Hacienda League.
All of this means the Falcons could win eight games – their best showing since 2008 – and still miss the playoffs.
“It’s really hard for our great senior guys,” Schilling said. “Maybe this is their last chance to play football, and because of a coin flip they’re not in the playoffs. It’s brutal.”
Of course, this is assuming CV is going to win tonight. If Arcadia wins, that mucks it up even more because then the Apaches would have the same league record as the Falcons. Playoff seedings will be announced by the CIF on Sunday.
The Falcons are favored, though, and things aren’t looking too bad even after their 39-26 loss to Muir. Several fumbles in the first half killed momentum the Falcons had going, so it wasn’t like the Mustangs (8-1, 6-0 in league) were outplaying them.
“Our game plan, offensively, was really good and we did what we wanted to do. But we turned the ball over,” Schilling said.
CV looked like it was about to score deep in Muir territory in the fourth quarter before a personal foul was called on the Falcons, which backed the drive up, and they eventually turned the ball over on downs. If they had scored there, they could have made it 39-33 with several minutes remaining.
As it was, CV’s 26 points was the second most Muir has allowed this season.
“We’ve lost two games this year. But one we were up by 17 points with two minutes left in the third quarter and we melted down, and this one, which we definitely could have won,” Schilling said. “It does help our players’ confidence and feeling that they can play with anyone.”
Schilling likened Arcadia to Glendale, a team that doesn’t score a lot of points but doesn’t make mistakes and hangs around until the end trying to make something happen. CV is 3-6 against the Apaches in its last nine meetings.
“The scariest part is traditionally going into the CV-Arcadia game that the team that’s supposed to win loses,” Schilling said. “Both teams over the years have really upset the plans of the other team. It’s a scary thing.”
Thursday Night Football
CV is ending its regular season on Thursday because the rivalry game between Glendale and Hoover will take place on Friday. CV, Glendale and Hoover share the same home field.
By the Numbers
The Falcons used three quarterbacks last year – Gadsby, Ben Rees and Joe Torres – and totaled just over 1,100 yards, four touchdowns and three interceptions. This year has been quite different. With one game to go, Gadsby has thrown for 2,100 yards, 28 touchdowns and seven interceptions.
Chase Walker leads the team in receptions with 42 for 650 yards and six touchdowns. Verdugo Hills High School transfer Jordan LoBianco has proved to be a spark with 500 yards receiving and five touchdowns, while Rees has made the move from quarterback to receiver nicely, catching seven touchdowns so far to lead the team.
On defensive, senior Austin Brines leads the way with 80 tackles in his nine games. Junior Matt Erickson is second with 66 – including 5.5 sacks – and freshman Tyler Hill is third with 63. Senior Kevin Hello has five interceptions, including two he’s returned for touchdowns.