First published in the Oct. 16 print issue of the Burbank Leader.
Crescenta Valley High School has had Burroughs’ number in football recently, but so far this season the Falcons have struggled. So, when the Bears hosted Crescenta Valley, the time seemed ripe for a change in fortune. However, the Falcons did not cooperate.
In a tight game, Crescenta Valley scored early and then held off the host Bears for the 14-7 victory last Friday night at Memorial Field in Pacific League action. It was the fifth straight win in the series for the Falcons.
“Burroughs is always just a hard-nosed, tough football team. They grind it out,” CV coach Hudson Gossard said. “We battled them and we were able to come out with a win.”
Crescenta Valley (2-4 overall record, 1-1 in league) held a seven-point advantage as the third quarter came to an end, but the Bears had the ball and were 15 yards from tying or possibly taking the lead. On the first play of the fourth quarter, Burroughs (3-3 overall, 1-1 league) had a third down and five to go. Bear quarterback Jon English rolled out left and fired a pass toward the end zone, only to see Falcon Luke Steele make an interception.
“[The receiver] beat me on that route,” Steele said. “He was way outside, much further than I was. I turned back for the ball, saw it in the air, grabbed it and just ran like heck.”
CV was unable to get a first down and punted. The Bears started driving again, including a six-yard run by English to convert a fourth down from their own 31-yard line. However, the drive stalled out and the hosts turned the ball over on downs.
The ensuing drive was derailed by consecutive penalties called on two different Falcon coaches, and the visitors punted. The CV defense then stepped up and took the ball away on downs near midfield when English’s fourth-down pass fell incomplete with 1:26 to play. Crescenta Valley then knelt down to run out the clock.
“[CV] took advantage of our slow start, but our guys fought back in the second half and we had opportunities to tie or take leads and we didn’t do it,” Burroughs coach Jesse Craven said. “[It was] a game of missed opportunities.”
Crescenta Valley scored on its first two possessions. The Falcons’ opening drive covered 46 yards in six plays. CV quarterback Jaston Walker finished it with an 18-yard run in which he used a spin move to shed tacklers and find the end zone. It was the first start at quarterback for the sophomore.
“[Walker] gives us a little more dual-threat versatility there,” Gossard said. “He did a great job stepping into his first start of the year.”
Walker completed 11 of 16 passes for 133 yards. He ran the ball eight times for 44 yards.
The Falcons’ second scoring drive covered 67 yards. The big play came on a 47-yard pass from Walker to Steele. Bear Ryan Hernandez made a touchdown-saving tackle at the 10-yard line. However, CV’s Shade Schaefer ran for a 10-yard touchdown on the next play. The junior finished with 10 carries for 50 yards and the score, as well as an 11-yard catch.
The Bears’ next possession made it to the Falcons’ 2-yard line, but on fourth down and goal-to-go at the two, Schaefer stuffed a Bear run for no gain. During the drive, Bear Jose Oliveros recovered two fumbles. The score at halftime was 14-0 in favor of the visitors.
The Falcons fumbled the second-half kickoff and it was recovered by Bear Angelo Toscano. Four plays later, Nate Howland-Chhina ran for a touchdown from 14 yards out with three CV defenders riding him across the goal line. The senior finished with 16 carries for 65 yards.
English completed six for 16 passes for 63 yards and the interception. The senior also rushed for a game-high 108 yards in 21 carries. Elijah Aldana-Pere had two rushes for 7 yards and two catches for 23 yards. Gerald Garcia had two grabs for 21 yards, while Hernandez and Ethan Hubbell had a 10-yard catch apiece.