Crescenta Valley, La Cañada football rivalry has new meaning
Football: Spartans, Falcons meet with undefeated records for first time in five years, while both deal with injuries.
ARCHIVE PHOTO: Crescenta Valley High quarterback Brian Gadsby, right, will look to keep the Falcons' offense clicking in a rivalry game with La Cañada. (Roger Wilson/Staff Photographer / September 18, 2013)
Over the past six years, the rivalry between the Crescenta Valley and La Cañada high football teams has lacked some excitement. CV is 6-0 in the annual fixture since 2007 by an average margin of victory of 15.5 points.
Things look a bit different this year, as the Spartans and Falcons will meet for not only bragging rights but with both hoping to keep their perfect starts alive by improving to 3-0. It’s the first time both sides have met with undefeated records since 2008, when they opened the year against each other.
“There's still that cross-town rivalry that exists and this game will mean that much more because we are both 2-0,” said Crescenta Valley Coach Paul Schilling, whose team has enjoyed lopsided wins over La Cañada by scores of 48-21 and 35-14 the past two seasons.
Dubbed the Gordy Warnock Memorial Game to honor the former Crescenta Valley football coach in 2010, La Cañada last gave CV a challenge that year when the Falcons won at Moyse Field, 38-34. That was a season removed from another narrow loss to the Falcons, 38-35.
Just like in 2010, the Spartans are 2-0 with victories over Alhambra (24-13) and one of the comeback variety over Glendale (27-20) last week. While the Spartans will be confident coming into their home game Friday at 7 p.m., they haven’t seen a pass-happy offense like the one at CV.
The Falcons have scored at least 54 points in their first two wins over Verdugo Hills (54-20) and San Marino (56-53), and relied on the right arm of quarterback Brian Gadsby in doing so. The junior has completed 40 of 64 passes for 657 yards, 12 touchdowns and no interceptions through two games.
“We’ve got a big game,” said La Cañada Coach James Sims, who was in attendance at the CV-San Marino game. “I came out here and watched CV and they throw the ball really well.”
La Cañada hopes to keep its rival in check after two key members of its defensive secondary — Brad Woolf and Jadon Henry — have suffered injuries early on this season.
“That’s our weakness right now with all our injuries at corner,” Sims said of stopping the passing game. “They throw the ball well, so we’re going to have to make some adjustments.”
Crescenta Valley also lost receiver Connor Van Ginkle to a broken collarbone last week.
“It's definitely a tough loss for us,” Schilling said. “The goal would be right now for him to be back for the last couple of games.”
Still, the Falcons are deep with receivers, as Gadsby continued the spread the ball around against San Marino. Eight CV players caught passes in the game, with four of them hauling in touchdowns and two — Ben Rees (77 yards on six catches) and Jordan Lobianco (four catches for 83 yards) — catching two scores.
Safe to say, it will be a difference of styles Friday. The Spartans have run the ball 62 times this year and thrown it 26 times. They’ve collected 332 rushing yards, as opposed to 34 passing, last week.
“We know that La Cañada likes to run the ball a lot,” Schilling said. “They are just going to keep pounding the ball right at you.”
The Spartans will likely look to sophomore Mario Martinez to carry the load again after a breakout performance at Glendale last week that included two touchdowns and 137 yards on 21 carries.
“We can sit here and say what we think we’re going to do, but we’ll see what happens,” Sims said.
La Mirada at St. Francis, 7 p.m. Thursday: La Mirada was one of four one-score losses St. Francis suffered a year ago, but the Golden Knights appear to be a different force in 2013, as they’re ranked sixth in the CIF Southern Section Western Division.
St. Francis will look to prove so further at Friedman Field Thursday night when it looks to avenge a 28-21 loss to La Mirada last season. Ty Gangi has been dominant in his first and senior season under center, as he’s completed 29 of 43 passes for 454 yards, six touchdowns and no picks.
La Mirada, which is ranked No. 8 in the Southeast Division, is off to a rough 0-3 start with losses to Tesoro (43-14), La Habra (35-26) and Servite (38-14), while the Knights are rolling at 2-0 with comfortable victories over Chino (52-3) and Righetti (35-14).
Offensively, La Mirada leans on its ground game but presents a balanced attack overall.
It looks to senior Adam Carrasco, who’s run for 342 yards and four scores on 58 carries this year and had 246 yards and two touchdowns on 36 carries against St. Francis last year, to power the run game. Junior Kevin Dillman, who has completed 44 of 72 passes for 369 yards but no touchdowns and four interceptions, will look to lead La Mirada through the air.
Outside of Gangi, St. Francis’ most reliable offensive weapon is senior running back Joe Mudie. He leads the team in rushing yards with 136 on 16 carries, along with two scores. He also has a team-high 171 receiving yards and two more touchdowns on eight receptions.
Flintridge Prep at Boron, 7 p.m.: After its bye week, Flintridge Prep will hope it’s recovered from an 0-2 start to the year that’s dropped it outside of the top-10 rankings in the Northeast Division.
The Rebels dropped a heartbreaker to Army-Navy (42-41) when they opened the year at home and then couldn’t keep pace with Meadows (36-20) when they traveled to Las Vegas on Sept. 7. Prep will take another long road trip this week, as the trek to Boron High is about 120 miles.
Both teams are looking for their first wins, as Boron, which carries 22 players according to MaxPreps.com, has dropped games to Kern Valley (53-20) and Antelope Valley (49-6) this year.
While Flintridge Prep is off to a slow start, its running back Stefan Smith certainly is not. The senior has eight touchdowns and 639 yards from scrimmage (499 rushing on 35 carries and 140 receiving on five catches).
Boron will run the ball a majority of the time and look to D.J. Payne (218 yards, two touchdowns on 37 carries) and Keith Core (115 yards, two touchdowns on 34 carries) to shoulder the load.
South Pasadena at Glendale, 7 p.m.: With a touchdown lead at halftime, the Nitros were in control when they hosted La Cañada last week until injuries to running backs Daniel Jung and Luis Ruiz halted their offense and gave life to their opposition.
Hopes have to be those problems won’t bleed into this week, as Glendale stays home for the third game in a row. While the Nitros suffered their first loss of the year last week, South Pasadena earned its first win against Hoover, 21-7. It opened with a 40-15 loss to Eagle Rock.
Any lingering effects on Jung and Ruiz, who have combined for 446 yards and four touchdowns on 40 carries this year, may put more pressure on Glendale’s Kevin Felix. The senior quarterback has completed 15 of 24 passes for 229 yards, one touchdown and one interception that came last week.
Glendale wide receiver Martin Marin will also look to continue his strong senior season with the Nitros, as he’s caught a team-high 10 passes for 142 yards.
South Pasadena figures to also rely on its running game, starting with running back Heven Gomez, who ran for 133 yards on 16 carries, last week.