They’re in the CIF playoffs despite a 31-7 loss to Arcadia in the regular season finale, and play at La Mirada on Friday.
By Maddy PUMILIA
Before the season started, Crescenta Valley Head Coach Paul Schilling said Arcadia High School was the team to beat.
Now, 10 games later, both teams, along with Burroughs, Pasadena and Muir from the Pacific League, head to the playoffs.
It was an intense season for the Falcons, who are coming in as the fourth seed in the Southern Section Southeast Division. The Falcons finished 6-4 overall and 4-3 in league. Despite the losses, Schilling said he feels good about his team after the regular season ended. Three of the four teams CV lost to top three seeds in the Pacific League: Burroughs, Arcadia and Pasadena. CV beat Muir 27-20 in the beginning of October.
Burroughs and Arcadia end the regular season at 6-1 in league. Arcadia, however, has a better record because they are 8-2 in the overall season whereas Burroughs is 6-4. However, Burroughs has the No. 1 seed because they beat Arcadia.
The Falcons suffered a couple of bad losses, including the one last week to Arcadia, 31-7. A loss against the Apaches could have resulted in missing the playoffs, but despite getting outplayed the Falcons managed their way in.
Schilling attributed the loss to turnovers and added, “On this night and at this game, they were better than us. They are great players. Coach [Dimalante] does a good job of getting them ready. He’s a good coach and they have good players.”
Arcadia started out with the ball at their own 20-yard line. The Apaches had no luck on offense and after three plays, they were forced to punt. The 33-yard yard punt gave CV the ball on their 41-yard line. Junior running back William Wang ran six yards on first down, but a penalty on CV brought them to second and 9. Pressure on quarterback Zac Wilkerson forced him out of bounds.
On second-and-10 for the Apaches, running back Jake Medel ran for 20 yards. After a long run by quarterback Myles Carr and a personal foul call against the Falcons, the Apaches were on third down with one to go on the five-yard line. The Apaches converted the first down and Medel got a touchdown with 5:30 left in the first quarter.
CV’s wide receiver Nick Ruiz returned the kickoff, but fumbled when he was hit near the Falcon sideline. The fumble was questionable to some, including Schilling, who thought it wasn’t a fumble. Due to the ruling on the field, Arcadia got the ball on CV’s 34-yard line. On the first play after the fumble, Carr connected with wide receiver Joey Willm for a touchdown.
On third-and-7 on CV’s next drive, tight end Justin Springfield caught a pass, but the Falcons couldn’t convert on their next third down and were forced to punt.
Carr’s pass on Arcadia’s next drive was almost intercepted by Chad Eggertson. Carr’s pass on third and eight was incomplete.
On the next CV drive, Wilkerson was intercepted by defensive back Taylor Lagace, the second turnover for CV.
Arcadia fumbled but recovered. On third-and-13, Carr fumbled the snap, but recovered. Arcadia was forced to punt.
Ruiz caught a pass on third-and-6, setting up a touchdown by running back Marro Lee. With 2:54 left in the second quarter, CV was only down by a touchdown, but it would be the only touchdown CV scored all night.
Arcadia punted after an unsuccessful drive. With a limited amount of time, CV had to act fast. Ruiz ran the ball to the 21-yard line. Wilkerson ran it to the 9-yard line with 45 seconds left on the clock. They ran on second down and Ruiz dropped the touchdown on third down. The team brought in kicker Pavle Atanackovic, who has been reliable all season, to kick a 22-yard field goal, but he missed.
“We should have had a field goal,” Schilling said. “He never misses those.”
The Falcons couldn’t convert any points on their opening drive in the second half. The Apaches started on their 35-yard line. After a sack, the Apaches were at third and 16 and were forced to punt.
Wilkerson pitched the ball to Wang, but linebacker Brian Ponce was quick to get in the backfield and intercepted it for a touchdown. Halfway through the third quarter, the score was 21-7.
Robbie Haines sacked Wilkerson and the Falcons had to punt. Now on offense, Haines got another touchdown for the Apaches, putting CV behind by three touchdowns.
In the fourth quarter, the Apaches drove down the field for a 28-yard field goal.
“They’re a very good team,” Schilling said. “That’s why they are number two in CIF in our division.”
“We got outplayed,” said center/linebacker Nathan Sarreal. “We prepared all week. Tried our hardest … They were just better than us today. We knew everything they [ran]. We just couldn’t perform.”
The team travels to La Mirada High School Friday to play in round one of the playoffs at 7:30 p.m. La Mirada is the No. 1 seed in the Suburban League. La Mirada has the same record as CV, but is 5-1 in league.