Falcons Drop Season Finale Against Arcadia

First published in the Oct. 30 print issue of the Glendale News Press.

Sometimes football can be a cruel game.
In the final game of the season, Crescenta Valley High hosted Arcadia in a contest that came down to a crucial miscue by the Falcons, allowing the visiting Apaches to escape with a 35-28 Pacific League win Thursday night at Moyse Field.
“I told the kids, ‘Every one of you guys battled. You guys left it out on the field and, unfortunately, we didn’t come out on top,’” CV coach Hudson Gossard said.
Arcadia (4-5 overall record, 1-4 in league) had just completed a methodical 14-play touchdown drive that ate up 9:32 of the fourth quarter to pull ahead by seven.
On the ensuing drive, Crescenta Valley (2-7 overall, 1-4 league) was just outside the red zone with a minute left. Shade Schaefer took a handoff, but the ball popped loose and Arcadia senior Jonathan Maldonado made the recovery. Arcadia knelt down from there and ran the clock out.
The end was particularly harsh because Schaefer otherwise had a spectacular game. The junior scored all four of the hosts’ touchdowns and was the anchor on the defense.
“Schaefer is the heart and soul of this team,” Gossard said.
Schaefer lined up at quarterback, running back and receiver. He hauled in four catches for 54 yards and a touchdown, all team-highs. He completed one pass for 15 yards. The junior also finished with a game-high 217 rushing yards on 22 carries with three touchdowns.
On the first offensive play of the game for CV, Schaefer took the direct snap and burst through the right side of the line for a 35-yard touchdown. CV had been afforded the short field thanks, in part, to a sack by CV’s Jacob Aguilar.
Next, the Falcons took the ball over on downs leading to a 95-yard drive for another score. Falcon quarterback Matias Pineda avoided the rush before finding Schaefer for a 15-yard touchdown through the air.
Crescenta Valley held a 14-0 lead after the first quarter before Arcadia scored on the opening play of the second period when Apache Ty Pierson ran up the middle for a 5-yard touchdown.
Arcadia tied the game with 6:05 left in the half on a 33-yard pass from Maldonado to Derek Ganter Jr.
The Falcons answered right back, driving 75 yards to retake the lead on a 5-yard run by Schaefer, where he took the direct snap and burrowed his way up the middle into the end zone.
Falcon Calix Jamerson intercepted Maldonado to end the visitors’ drive, and the score was 21-14 CV at halftime.
Midway into the third quarter, the Falcon punter struggled to field a bad snap and then dropped the ball. Arcadia took over at the six and soon scored on a 5-yard run by Pierson. The Apaches then recovered the ensuing kickoff when the Falcons could not corral a short boot and quickly scored again on a 12-yard rush by Maldonado.
“It’s a microcosm of the whole season. We shot ourselves in the foot second half: bad snap on special teams, fumbled the kickoff, dropped some passes,” Gossard said. “You can’t make too many of those mistakes and recover.”
CV tied the game at 28-28 on the first play of the fourth quarter. Schaefer took a direct snap, faked a handoff, then sprinted up the middle for a 55-yard touchdown. Placekicker Anthony Sharlakian, who was four for four, successfully booted the extra point.
Pineda completed six of 14 passes for 99 yards and the one score. Teammate Luke Steele ran the ball five times for 44 yards and caught a pass for 14 yards. Carson Center caught two passes for 46 yards.
“On defense we got a spark from offensive lineman Mike Balian, who came in and played some defensive line when we were getting pushed around and did a great job,” Gossard said.