SOUTHEAST GLENDALE — For the past two years the La Cañada High football team has suffered defeats to Crescenta Valley, thanks to a Falcons running game powered by Marro Lee.
Lee may not have been there Friday night when CV hosted the Spartans at Moyse Field, but William Wang filled those shoes nicely and delivered another Crescenta Valley victory — by a 48-21 margin — over its cross-town rival on the third annual “Gordy's Game,” which is played each year in memory of former Falcons Coach Gordy Warnock, who died in 2010.
“That's really what it was all about,” said Crescenta Valley Coach Paul Schilling, whose team gained 448 yards of offense in the game.
Wang ran for a team-high 162 yards, which was two yards shy of what La Cañada's offense gained the entire game, and three touchdowns to deliver the victory.
“Our kids perform and do well,” said Schilling of why his team has had so much success running the ball against the Spartans. “Up front our big guys are just bigger and stronger and numbers-wise they don't have a lot of guys so we wear them down with our numbers.”
New La Cañada Coach James Sims said it also helps that CV has more students to pull from for their athletic programs.
“You're talking about a school with 3,000 students versus a school with 1,500 students,” Sims said. “It's really a matchup you don't consistently schedule. It starts off an unfair matchup.”
Wang started his big day on CV's second drive when he put his team out to a 7-0 lead with 8:33 to go in the opening quarter when he broke an 80-yard run on a toss to the outside.
The Spartans defense remembered that play and CV banked on it, as the Falcons ran fakes off it the rest of the game to open things open for everyone else. Crescenta Valley fullback Forrest Graves was one of many who benefited from inside handoffs off fake tosses to Wang.
That play set up an easy touchdown for Graves when he broke a 27-yard run to La Cañada's one-yard line off the fake and then punched it in for a 14-0 lead with 11:32 to go in the half.
Wang added his second score of the day when he ran for a one-yard touchdown with 5:09 to go in the half. The score was set up by CV quarterback Ben Rees (four of nine for 105 yards and a score), who hit wide receiver Jack Lutynski with a 38-yard pass to the Spartans' 28.
Lutynski was dangerous all night, as he hooked up with Rees three times for 59 yards in the game, including a four-yard score with 12 seconds to go in the half, despite him being double covered in the end zone.
The senior receiver, who caught a total of four passes for 69 yards with one coming from backup quarterback Joe Torres, said the running game sets the tone and opens things up for him down the field.
“The running game definitely helps out,” Lutynski said. “They play run and we throw it over the top, that's the plan.”
Lutynski's score pushed the Falcons’ advantage to 28-7 after La Cañada quarterback Matt Jones (four of nine for 65 yards and a touchdown) connected with a wide-open Ryan Martin for a 39-yard touchdown pass with 2:30 to go in the half.
The Spartans refused to go quietly, as Grant Owen fielded a short kickoff and returned it 65 yards for a touchdown to open the half and cut the deficit to 14.
More momentum came the Spartans’ way when they forced a turnover on downs at their 14-yard line. La Cañada could only move the ball five yards on the ensuing possession, which forced a punt deep from its own end.
Chad Eggertson stole back all the momentum for CV when he broke a 59-yard touchdown on the return to put the game away and put the Falcons up, 34-14, with 4:48 to go in the third.
“The real back breaker was giving up that last touchdown with seconds left before the half,” Sims said. “It's a different ball game if you're down 21-7 and then we run the kickoff back and it’s 20-14. You can point at a couple of things, but I am proud of the kids they played tough. We just got to keep pressing on.”
Crescenta Valley added to its lead on another nine-yard touchdown run from Wang with 3:46 to go in the third and a three-yard scoring rush from sophomore Kyle Tavizon with 5:23 to go in the game.
La Cañada capped the scoring when Andy Paynter broke a 20-yard touchdown run on a toss with 2:30 remaining.