Falcons escape late rally by Mustangs for the win

Tanner Hamilton takes it down the field with Muir's Shamar Wright on his heels.
Tanner Hamilton takes it down the field with Muir's Shamar Wright on his heels.

By Brian PARK

CV Weekly intern

The Falcons got off to an early start on a Thursday night game to win their third straight, beating the Muir Mustangs 21-14. After several losses to the Mustangs in earlier seasons, the Crescenta Valley Falcons held on to take the win.

The Falcons received the ball to start the game and Tanner Hamilton took it down the field to score a touchdown. Unfortunately, the touchdown was revoked by a flag against the Falcons, leaving 29 yards to the endzone. On the first play, quarterback Kyle Cota kept the ball and ran for 11 yards and the first down. The next play was one similar to the first, resulting in a run of five yards, but a flag was thrown down. The Falcons got back the yards with a Muir offsides, bringing back the first and 10. Runningback Harry Pessy then ran for three yards on the next play. On the second down, Cota passed to Dai Dai McFadden in the slot for a gain of seven yards. Cota was sacked the play after the completion for a loss of two yards. The Falcons called a timeout to regroup and came out running, or perhaps jumping would be a more accurate description.

Pessy jumped over a Muir defender to grab the first down. With six yards to go to the endzone, Cota ran for two of them. The next play was a handoff to Pessy, who successfully rammed the defenders for the touchdown and the 7-0 lead with 7:42 in the first quarter.

Muir dropped the kickoff to start with a touchback at their own 20 yard line. After an incompletion, backto- back false start penalties were called on the Mustangs leaving 20 yards to go for the first down. After an unsuccessful pass and run, the Mustangs punted.

The Falcons couldn’t move the ball on the possession, leading to a three and out. On the upside, the Falcon defense cut up the Muir offense, getting the ball back soon after.

Dai Dai returned the punt for 10 yards ,but an illegal block put the Falcons near midfield. Hamilton  carried the ball for six yards on the first play of the drive. Pessy then ran the ball to the outside for 14 yards. Cota passed for the first time this drive, but receiver David Whitaker dropped the ball. Cota made up for the slack the next play by running it for 15 yards. Cota threw a shovel pass to Hamilton for a gain of four yards. Cota then ran it for a gain of 10 yards, only to be denied by a penalty, putting the Falcons with 15 yards until the first down. On the final play of the first quarter, Cota threw a short pass toHamilton for a gain of 13. Looking  to keep the drive alive, the Falcons turned to Pessy who ran a yard short of the first down. Lucky    for the Falcons, the drive was kept alive by an offsides on Muir on fourth and one. The Falcons now had three yards to go and again turned to Pessy who ran for two of the yards. Cota capped the drive with a one yard touchdown run, putting the Falcons up 14-0.

The ensuing kickoff was brought back by Muir to the 28 yard line. The Mustangs successfully got a first down on a screen pass on the first play of the possession. After a gain of two yards, Tyler Martinez intercepted a tipped pass on the   next play, and brought it back to the 11 yard line. Making the best of the opportunity, Pessy ran for seven yards to get to the four yard line. McFadden then ran the ball in for a touchdown to put the Falcons up to the biggest lead of the game.

The stingy Falcon defense continued not allowing the Mustangs to move the ball, resulting in a turnover on downs. The Falcons on the other hand continued to move the ball, getting to the 35 yard line. Cota fumbled and lost the football after a hard hit from the back ending the half on a bad note. The second half was all about the Mustangs as they tried for the rally. The Falcon offense struggled in the half, not scoring any points and leaving the defense to do the work. As the Falcon offense struggled, the Muir offense thrived. The Mustangs scored a touchdown in the third quarter on a 17 yard touchdown catch on failed coverage. In the  fourth quarter, the Mustangs scored again with seven minutes on the clock, putting them in position to tie. The Falcon offense did a great job of burning the clock, but eventually the Mustangs got the ball back with 30 seconds on the clock and a whole lot of ground to cover. Defensive lineman Bryan Luna sacked the Mustang quarterback, shaving 20 seconds off the clock. The Mustangs failed to go deep, ending the game. “Coming into the game, the mentality was good. We were very enthusiastic in the first half,” said coach Tony Zarillo. “Muir played hard and this was a nice win for us.”