First published in the Sept. 25 print issue of the Glendale News Press.
The Crescenta Valley High School football team had one last game to tune up for Pacific League play when it hosted Golden Valley High from Santa Clarita on Thursday evening. However, instead of gearing up, the Falcons stalled out.
Crescenta Valley was overmatched from the start by the visiting Grizzlies, who mauled the Falcons 55-21 at Glendale High’s Moyse Field in nonleague action.
“What it came down to was lack of execution. We had a tough time moving the ball offensively,” CV coach Hudson Gossard said. “We put too much strain on our defense.”
The first quarter, which ended with Golden Valley (2-2 record) up 21-0, told the story. In the stanza, Crescenta Valley (1-3) gained three yards, while the visitors had 158.
After a three-and-out on the opening possession, the Falcons punted. The ensuing Golden Valley drive took nine plays, ending in a six-yard touchdown pass on play action from Jaxson Miner to Malachi Beacham. On the drive, Grizzly Jared Giles had 54 yards on six carries.
A high snap doomed the next Crescenta Valley drive. The Grizzlies then went to Giles, who had runs of 17 and 15 yards, setting up another play-action touchdown toss, this time from 13 yards out from Miner to Nick Machado.
After another three-and-out by the hosts, Giles finished the ensuing 51-yard drive with a two-yard touchdown run and a 21-0 lead entering the second period. In the first quarter alone, Giles racked up 90 yards on 11 carries with the touchdown. Despite not playing in the fourth quarter, the senior would finish with a game-high 240 yards on 17 carries with three touchdowns.
In the second quarter, CV’s Anthony Sharlakian boomed a 57-yard punt. On the first play of the ensuing Grizzly drive, Falcon Shade Schaefer intercepted an errant Miner throw. Schaefer then also made a big play on offense by taking a direct snap and going around the left, sprinting down the sideline for a 54-yard score to get the Falcons on the board.
“I know I’m faster than these kids, so I just took one inside step, then burst outside and I was gone,” Schaefer said.
Schaefer was a bright spot for Crescenta Valley throughout. The junior finished with 12 carries for 115 yards and the touchdown. Along with the interception, as a receiver he caught two passes for 11 yards.
“Honestly, we just need to be a more disciplined team,” Schaefer said. “We weren’t prepared. We just need to get back to practice. We just need to be better.”
After the Schaefer score, Golden Valley went back to Giles and answered quickly with a five-yard rushing touchdown by the senior after he had ripped off a 24-yard scamper earlier in the drive.
Crescenta Valley later scored on a five-yard touchdown run by Steele, on which the senior dragged several defenders across the line.
The final score of the game came in the fourth quarter, which featured a running clock, against the Grizzly reserves when Steele got behind the defense for an 82-yard touchdown reception from Matias Pineda. Pineda finished 6 of 16 for 113 yards with a touchdown and interception.
Steele had two grabs for 101 yards and the score. He also had four carries for 11 yards and a score. The other two grabs were made by Arian Bakhshi and Lachlan Blunt.
“We’ve just got a lot of work to do,” Gossard said. “League play starts and things aren’t getting any easier.”