SOUTHEAST GLENDALE — It was apparent when the Crescenta Valley High football team executed an on-side kick, recovered the ball and scored two plays later to open its Pacific League game Friday against Pasadena, the Falcons were pulling out all the stops in an attempt to defeat the Bulldogs.
However, if Crescenta Valley hoped to come away with the win against a defense that shut out Glendale a week earlier, it would have to accomplish the feat with its backup quarterback.
Although senior Joe Torres did a solid job running the Falcons’ offense, it was the team’s defense that ultimately played the largest role against Pasadena. That defense allowed just one touchdown through much of the game, as the Bulldogs scored in the waning seconds of the contest and the Falcons were able to notch a 17-14 victory at Moyse Field.
“The defense just did a great job for us,” Falcons Coach Paul Shilling said. “Dennis Gossard calls the plays and puts our defense together and nobody watches more film and is more prepared than he is.”
Crescenta Valley (3-2, 1-1 in league) was playing without starting quarterback Ben Rees, a junior, who was sidelined with a hip-flexor and strep throat.
The Bulldogs (1-4, 1-1), who earned a 35-0 win last week in their league opener against the Nitros, had to also play without their starting quarterback. Senior Brandon Cox, a University of Arizona commit, suffered a broken bone in his foot during the second game of the season and is still sidelined.
Although Pasadena was able to move the ball sporadically against the Falcons, it never seemed to get into a fluid rhythm throughout the contest.
“Tonight we just didn’t play well at all,” Pasadena Coach Randy Horton said. “Tonight we came out a little flat. It seemed that when we would get a good drive we would shoot ourselves in the foot with mistakes.
“But I have to give credit to [Crescenta Valley], they played a good game.”
One of those mistakes came at a crucial juncture in the game. With the Falcons clinging to a 14-8 lead with just over five minutes remaining and Pasadena with the ball on its own 23-yard line, the Bulldogs fumbled. The offering was recovered by John Psaltis and Crescenta Valley was in business at the 23.
However, with just under 2:10 left, the Falcons’ drive stalled at the seven-yard line. Opting for a field goal of 24 yards, Travis Palazzolo made good on the chip shot with 2:02 remaining to push the lead to 17-8.
“That fumble right there really hurt us,” Horton said.
The Bulldogs stormed right back and cut the advantage to 17-14 on a 14-yard touchdown pass from sophomore quarterback Caleb Devine to senior Wardell Barry. On the two-point conversion attempt, however, Berry was stopped short of the goal line after a pass from Devine.
Torres stepped up and gave the Falcons a boost when they needed it. He scored on a one-yard plunge with 22 seconds left in the first half to give Crescenta Valley the lead, and when Torres hooked up with Jack Lutynski on a two-point conversion pass, the hosts were up, 14-8.
“A lot of guys stepped up in this win for us,” Torres said. “This win is just going to blow up our confidence. That was a very talented and a very athletic team that we went against. Football is a game of momentum and I think we had the momentum tonight.”
Torres was seven of 11 for 71 yards. Sophomore running back Kyle Tavizon had six carries for 66 yards.
Crescenta Valley started the scoring on the second play from scrimmage when senior William Wang found the end zone on a 30-yard run at the 11:14 mark of the first quarter for a 6-0 lead.
Pasadena came back to score its first points on a safety.
The Bulldogs took the lead, 8-6, in the second quarter when Kylon Fleming scored on a 27-yard run with 11:02 left before halftime.
Fleming carried the ball eight times for 114 yards and one touchdown.