By Brandon HENSLEY
Two years ago, the Crescenta Valley High School football team went undefeated in the Pacific League on its way to a CIF championship. This year, the Falcons are looking to repeat that success, and they’re halfway there.
The Falcons wrapped a memorable regular season last week at Arcadia with a 49-28 win that earned them their second league title in three years. They finished 7-0 in league and 9-1 overall, their only blemish a 21-7 loss to Golden Valley in the second game of the season.
That’s a distant memory now as the team heads into the CIF Southern Section Division VI playoffs with a first-round game against Saugus at Glendale High’s Moyse Field on Friday. Game time is 7 p.m.
Saugus was 8-2 and finished third in the Foothill League standings.
“It has obviously been a really fun season so far. It’s been great to play with the guys on our team. We have a really strong bond,” said sophomore starting quarterback Cole Doyle, who was implemented into the roster late last season.
This is Doyle’s first full season in charge of the offense and, while his numbers haven’t been spectacular, he and his teammates have found ways to get the job done all season. Two years ago, Brian Gadsby threw the ball all over the field to his great senior wide receivers. This time around, Doyle has befuddled defenses with his legs (509 yards rushing, 10 touchdowns) as well as his arm.
“I don’t call the offense, or the formations, or the plays each week,” said Doyle, who threw for over 1,400 yards passing this season, with 13 touchdowns to five interceptions. “That’s up to [assistant coach Hudson Gossard]. The good thing about it is that we can do both. We can run the ball well with our great offensive line. And we can also pass the ball … I wouldn’t say we’re a one-sided team; we just do whatever it takes to win.”
Joe Suh and Brandon Beardt lead a well-balanced rushing attack behind a stout offensive line that Coach Paul Schilling was praising as early as last spring. The defense has been dominant. Ty Hill, Nobel Leduc, Tyler LoBianco and Brian Erickson were all key contributors to a unit that yielded just 11.1 points per league contest.
The Falcons won all nine of their games by 14 points or more. So how did they lose to Golden Valley, which finished behind Saugus in their league?
Doyle said the Grizzlies were a good team – and indeed, they roundly defeated CV last season – and that it was also the second game of the year when the Falcons were trying to get configured on both sides of the ball.
“Looking back on it, if we were to go back and play them now, it would have been more in our favor, in my opinion,” Doyle said.
Doyle said nobody in the program is making comparisons to the 2014 squad – at least not out loud – but acknowledged everyone thinks these Falcons have what it takes to go as far.
“Definitely. We have a lot of faith in each other,” he said. “We think we’ll go far, but we want to take it one game at a time.”
Tickets for the game will be on sale at the Student Store at CVHS during snack and lunch. Student prices are $5 with ID, and adults are $10. Checks should be made payable to CVHS. Students do not get in free with their ASB card – this is a CIF event. Everyone in attendance needs to purchase a ticket.