By Brandon HENSLEY
There will be no victory parade down Honolulu Avenue this year, no sold out Moyse Field celebrating another unforgettable season. The defending CIF champions are not defending their championship anymore, because the Cathedral Phantoms came into the first round of the Southeast Division playoffs and blasted the Crescenta Valley Falcons 58-19 to end CV’s run at another title.
It was close at halftime, with Cathedral leading 22-13, but injuries over the last few weeks and some more in this game caught up to the Falcons. They were outscored 34-6 in the second half, including 28-0 in the fourth quarter.
“We were able to keep it close, but the fourth quarter just got away from us,” said Falcons Coach Paul Schilling. “We were too banged up. But that’s a good team over there. They’re good.”
The Phantoms (10-1) play Downey (7-4) this week, a team that CV beat in the championship game last year.
Bostin Lakin, who caught four passes for 46 yards, went down with an injury at the start of the third quarter and didn’t return. Brandon Beardt was also out, and Sean McDonald suffered a concussion near the end of the game.
Quarterback Evan Nelson, who shared time with Tyler Hill this season, also didn’t play. Instead, the start went to freshman Cole Doyle, who played the previous week against Arcadia, and threw the game-winning score. Against Cathedral, Doyle was 13 of 22 for 132 yards, with one touchdown and two interceptions. Hill completed all three of his passes for 44 yards, but when he’s taking snaps, the offense revolves around him beating up guys by running the ball. Hill carried the ball 11 times for 40 yards and scored twice.
Hill’s junior season ended with 703 yards passing, with eight touchdowns and six interceptions. He carried the ball 128 times for almost 700 yards and scored 10 touchdowns. Hill, who was an All-CIF selection of defense last year, also made 62 tackles at the safety position and had two interceptions.
Schilling said Doyle will get an opportunity at quarterback in the spring, when passing tournaments come back around. He said he believes a dual-quarterback threat, at least right now, may be what’s best for the team.
“That will allow Ty to play defense, and on offense be the type of physical guy he wants to be,” Schilling said. “He won’t have to be the guy who has to keep calm. He can keep that mindset that he’s always had on defense.”
As for Doyle, who is listed at 5’7”, Schilling likes what he sees from the freshman.
“He’s young, and he’s good, that’s why we put him out there. He’s had all the right training as a kid growing up,” he said.
With Hill and Doyle and a lot of other guys returning, the Falcons will try and continue their winning ways over the past few seasons. It wasn’t too long ago the program was stuck in mediocrity. But since 2013, the team has gone 29-6. Schilling and his staff will also return running back Joe Suh, receiver Will Rees, and defensive players Chuck Weinmann and Nobel Leduc, all of whom played key roles helping the Falcons win seven games, and go 5-2 in the Pacific League.
Crescenta Valley will say goodbye to seniors Nelson, Lakin, Nizar Abou-Chakra, and Colin Caver, who barely played this year due to injury. Caver played in all 14 games last year and recorded 113 tackles and 11 sacks.
“Colin played in only two games, and when he did play he wasn’t the same Colin we knew last year,” Schilling said.
A year like 2014, when the team went undefeated and won a championship for the first time since 1973, might not ever come around, but at least the Falcons are still young and talented enough to spark excitement for next year.