“One of the things we found out about our entire division is that many of the teams are tremendously physical. The playoffs are a different and more physical brand of football. If you want to be a factor in the playoffs, then you’ve got to be tougher and stronger. We learned some lessons and we want to be a factor come the playoffs.”
Before thinking playoffs, the Falcons must first navigate their way through a 10-game regular-season schedule.
Crescenta Valley, ranked No. 9 in the division’s preseason poll, will start its season at 7 p.m. Friday with an intersectional home game against Verdugo Hills at Glendale High’s Moyse Field. Its league opener will be at 7 p.m. Oct. 2 against Burbank at Moyse Field.
Having 25 returners back should help speed up the process for the Falcons, who spent plenty of time since the end of last season in the weight room. Crescenta Valley will look to win its first league championship since 2004.
“I think our league well be very competitive,” said Zarrillo, whose team will also compete in nonleague games against intercity rivals La Cañada and St. Francis. “There are a number of teams who have an opportunity to do well in league, including us.
“I think we are in the thick of it. There’s a level of expectation that we aspire to. We want to get refocused and everybody have the energy we need to get going in the direction we want it to.”
Zarrillo, the reigning All-Area Coach of the Year, will turn to senior starting quarterback Kyle Cota to lead the way. Cota will be backed up by sophomore Zak Wilkerson.