First published in the Sept. 24 print issue of the Glendale News-Press.
The Crescenta Valley and La Cañada high school varsity football teams met on the gridiron for the first time since 2017 and after a high-scoring second half, the Falcons saw their 11-game win streak against the Spartans dating back to 2006 snapped after narrowly losing, 45-42, in a nonleague game last Friday.
The Falcons faced an uphill battle after ending the first half with a 24-7 deficit. Instead of quitting, CVHS clawed its way back and outscored the Spartans 35-21 in the second half.
“You gotta give La Cañada credit, their offense was basically unstoppable. End of the day, they just made a couple more plays than we did and we were on the losing end,” CVHS head coach Hudson Gossard said. “There are no moral victories — you win or you lose. The way that first half ended, it didn’t look good. But we battled and that was an exciting second half.”
The Falcons found the end zone on their opening drive of the second half, with lasted just under two minutes. On 3rd-and-1 with 10:26 remaining in the third quarter, junior Andranik Saryan rushed for a 60-yard touchdown and cut the deficit 24-14 following a successful PAT by senior Miles Vallejo. Saryan rushed for 74 yards and a touchdown on four carries while Vallejo went a perfect 6-for-6 in PAT attempts.
Following a Spartan touchdown, CVHS responded on its very next drive as senior Shade Schaefer had a pair of carries for 10 yards each, the latter finishing in the end zone with 1:15 remaining in the third quarter.
The Falcons then caught a lucky break by recovering a fumble on La Cañada’s 42-yard line. CV used the remainder of the quarter to get itself into scoring position and on the first play of the fourth quarter, Schaefer scored his second touchdown on a 17-yard run that made 31-28.
Schaefer had an outstanding game, rushing for a team-high 112 yards and a pair of touchdowns on 15 carries while making seven receptions for 37 yards. He also had a team-high eight tackles on defense.
“Shade is like our Corey Cheung. He does everything for us, he battled and he had a great game for us,” Gossard said.
CVHS and LCHS traded scores on the first four drives of the last quarter. CV scored again on a drive that lasted less than a minute after junior quarterback Jacob Deno tossed a 64-yard dime to junior Bjorn Hermansen, who found the end zone to trim the deficit to 38-35.
Deno completed 14-of-22 passes for 177 yards and a touchdown while rushing for 63 yards and a pair of touchdowns on eight carries. Hermansen finished with a pair of catches for 69 yards and a touchdown while adding three tackles on defense.
“We had some big plays by Hermansen and Deno had a nice game; we just need to find ways to make a couple more plays,” Gossard said. “Deno played great. We ran him a lot this game, he ran the ball well and had some great passes. He’s only going to continue to improve; this is his first year playing quarterback. We are so happy with his progress.”
The Falcons scored their last touchdown on the longest drive of the game which lasted just over five and a half minutes in the final quarter. CV relied heavily on its running game during that drive, as Schaefer carried four times for 11 yards. Deno delivered the final score on a 1-yard rushing touchdown.
The Spartans made incremental gains on the first five plays of their final drive before running out the clock.
“I think it’s great to have the local game. The stands were packed so that’s awesome,” Gossard said. “A lot of these guys grew up together, so they know each other and when you have that, it’s special.”
Senior Arian Bakhshi and junior Cristian Flores each had a pair of catches for 17 yards, while the latter rushed for 28 yards on seven carries. Senior Calix Jamerson made two receptions for 22 yards. Sophomore Chander Thome had two catches for 15 yards while adding a tackle and a sack for a loss of 8 yards on defense.
Senior Tyler Oliver collected six tackles, senior Zach Dunlavey produced five tackles and a fumble recovery, and senior Michael Balian and junior Jake Dunlavey each tallied four tackles.
Senior Nathaniel Deleon, senior Colin Alcalde, junior Lachlan Blunt and junior Jackson Roehr each had a pair of tackles, while senior Jared Monougian and junior Joe Barton had one tackle.
Crescenta Valley (1-3 overall) concluded nonleague play last night by hosting Calabasas; the game ended after the Glendale News-Press’ deadline and will be included in next week’s issue. CVHS will open Pacific Upper League action by hosting undefeated Burroughs High of Burbank (4-0 overall) on Friday, Sept. 30, at 7 p.m.