When Crescenta Valley and Hoover High face off in football, there are a few gray areas.
Both schools are in the Pacific League, but it was a nonleague contest because the league now has two tiers in football.
Hoover was the designated host, but it was on the same field where Crescenta Valley had secured its first home win since 2019 just the week before.
Regardless, it was a return to a familiar matchup for both programs.
On the field, the Falcons secured a 35-7 victory over the Tornados Friday, Sept. 22, at Moyse Field in nonleague action.
“Defensively, we played pretty good. Offensively, we were a mess,” Falcons coach Hudson Gossard said. “We’ve got to get things cleaned up. We are going into league. We start off with a tough test against Muir. So, it’s good to get the win, but we’ve got to clean things up.”
It was an efficient night for Falcon Xavier Thompson. The sophomore touched the ball five times on offense, resulting in four touchdowns. Thompson had three receptions for 65 yards and two touchdowns, as well as two rushing attempts for 27 yards and two scores. The sophomore also made an interception in the final minute of the first half to set up another Falcon touchdown and a 29-0 halftime advantage.
“I just went out there and played my game,” Thompson said. “They can’t mess with me. I had to do what I do best.”
Despite the result, Hoover coach Azad Herabidian liked what he saw from his team.
“We just want to keep this energy that we had and continue to take it into our next game and rest of the season because, up until this point, we been playing pretty flat football every single time,” Herabidian said. “Playing against CV was a special thing for us. We hadn’t played them for five years, so we were fired up and I want to make sure we carry this energy into the rest of the season.”
Hoover (1-5 overall) started with the ball, but the Falcon defense ended the drive without allowing a first down and five yards back from where it started.
The ensuing drive for Crescenta Valley (4-1) went 42 yards in five plays. It started with a short pass and run from Jacob Deno to Bjorn Hermansen for 25 yards and ended with a 7-yard touchdown run by Thompson. The PAT kick by Bryce Alonzo made it 7-0 with 7:48 to go in the first.
The Falcons’ second drive started with a 31-yard catch by Hermansen and ended with a 7-yard touchdown toss from Deno to Thompson with 1:27 left in the opening quarter and a 14-0 lead.
Crescenta Valley’s Jesse Flores recovered the ball on the Tornados’ 34-yard line after a Hoover fumble in the ensuing drive. The Hoover defense stiffened as the Falcons entered the red zone, starting with a sack by Anderson Thombs. Later, at third down and goal to go at the 5-yard line, Jonathan Manukyan recorded a sack of his own that forced a Crescenta Valley field goal attempt that was missed.
The next Falcon possession ended with a turnover, but still yielded points. On the first play of the possession, Manukyan recorded another sack. Later, Deno overshot everyone with a pass over the middle, but Tornado Davion Holloway ranged back to make an over-the-shoulder interception. However, the junior’s momentum carried him into the end zone and he was brought down for a safety with 5:18 left in the second quarter.
The teams then exchanged punts, resulting in Crescenta Valley getting the ball back with 1:16 before halftime. The drive lasted one play when Deno launched a pass to Thompson, who made the catch and streaked down the left sideline for a 52-yard touchdown and a 23-0 lead.
The next Hoover possession lasted one play when Hoover quarterback Aj Francisco was intercepted by Thompson, giving the visitors a short field. Two plays later, Deno threw a 31-yard touchdown pass to Nathan Martinez down the right seam with 34 seconds left before the break.
The opening possession of the third quarter saw the Falcons drive 56 yards in seven plays for a touchdown. The score came on an end-around run by Thompson covering 20 yards to make it 35-0.
The next Tornado drive got some momentum against the Falcon reserves until Crescenta Valley reinserted its starters as the hosts approached the end zone and the drive ended with a turnover on downs.
After that, the Falcons put in their reserves on offense, and on the first snap, Crescenta Valley fumbled the ball. Tornado Isaac Perez recovered it and advanced it to the Falcon 2-yard line. The ensuing possession ended on fourth down and 1 yard to go with a touchdown on a sneak by Francisco. The final point of the contest came when Daniel Baneham converted the PAT kick to set the final margin.
The rest of the fourth quarter played out with a running clock.
“Everybody played today, which is always a plus,” Gossard said.
Deno finished 15 of 20 for 227 yards passing, three touchdowns and one interception. To go along with Thompson’s production and Martinez’s lone grab, four Falcons had catches. Cristian Flores had four grabs for 30 yards, Chander Thome had four receptions for 39 yards, Hermansen had two catches for 56 yards and Giovanni Vartanyan one for 6 yards. Flores also had seven carries for 41 yards, and Andranik Saryan had one carry for 9 yards.
Francisco finished 11 of 24 for 70 yards passing. Joel Jauregui had four catches for 45 yards, while Joseph Dixon had three for 16. Thombs and Aram Darbinyan had two catches apiece for 6 and 4 yards respectively.
First published in the September 30 print issue of the Glendale News-Press.