By Vincent PAGE, intern
A week or two before Crescenta Valley High School’s varsity team was set to kick off its season against Verdugo Hills, I talked to Head Coach Paul Schilling about quitting the team. Time was the biggest factor – the ideas of having a job or pursuing other interests were quite attractive. Coach Schilling, along with my mom, convinced me to stick it out and the season. He told me that I would regret not playing, and how senior year is always the best year for football players. I sure am glad they did that, as it was the best football season I have ever had as a Falcon.
This season was a whirlwind of ups and downs. Blowing out teams we weren’t supposed to, losing to teams we could have beat. It was incredibly different from the 2014 championship year (obviously). However, I believe the losses and the hardships are what made it better. Beating Arcadia by one point to clinch playoffs? Conquering Muir on our homecoming night? Those are two memories that I’ll have forever.
As I said, clinching the playoffs and keeping Arcadia out was an amazing moment, but the memory that will stay in my mind the longest and most vividly was one week later in our playoff loss, when the clock ticked to zero against Cathedral. The final minutes were spent preparing for the imminent end to my career as a football player, along with most of the seniors standing alongside me. Lining up to shake hands at the end was the hardest thing to do as a football player, knowing they got to play the next week against Downey, whom we beat last year for CIF. I would have done anything for that rematch.
Besides the obvious ups and downs, I think the best thing I saw this year was fellow senior Evan Nelson get to start as quarterback for part of the season. That’s no diss toward Tyler Hill; it’s clear his true passion is playing safety, and this move allowed him to play that position again. However, Evan, who came in at about 5’4″ and 120 pounds our freshman year, loves the game of football more than anyone I’ve ever met. Whether NFL, high school, college, fantasy – any type of football – he loves them all, and seeing him get the chance to play in front of a thousand people was great.
That leads into another heartbreaking point of the season: seeing what seemed like half of my teammates go down with injuries at some point. Nelson, Bostin Lakin … it seemed like the more we depended on a guy, the worse he would get hurt. The coaching staff did a great job encouraging and preparing the next man up for his new, bigger role. It’s hard to think, even as a player, that those injuries may have to do with the collapses against Burroughs and Cathedral. However, every time someone went down, the man replacing him played his heart out.
Looking on to next year (what most people have already began to do), there is a ton of potential. The defense was relatively young, as the majority of the starting group was underclassmen, including sack machines Noble Le Duc and Kevin Taix, along with Hill leading them to elite status in the Pacific League. Talent will also come from last season’s junior varsity, which won the league championship. The offensive line will return two sophomore starters, Riley Center and Tommy Chun, along with rotational player, junior Michael Alvarez. Offensive skill positions, including running backs sophomore Joe Suh and Brandon Beardt and juniors Andrew Traber and Will Rees, will look to anchor the receiving corps. The offense will most likely be guided by freshman Cole Doyle, who led us to our win over Arcadia with a last minute touchdown pass to Rees. Doyle will be able to run when needed, throw when needed, and will learn how to lead a varsity offense when needed. From the looks of it, he’ll be able to do that just fine.
The pros and cons of this year were drastic, but there is no doubt in my mind that this team is going to do big things next year. I will be watching from the stands, joining the other side of the Falcon family – the community.