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Falcons face critical clash with Indians

Crescenta Valley risks dropping out of playoff contention in Pacific League with loss to front-running Burroughs, while a win would mean return to contention.

October 20, 2011|By Gabriel Rizk and, gabriel.rizk@latimes.com

Things can change quickly from week to week in Pacific League football — just ask Crescenta Valley High.

A week ago, the Falcons were on top of the world after a huge win against Muir, not to mention on top of the league standings as one of three unbeaten teams and in the thick of the league title hunt.

One road loss to Pasadena later and the Falcons (4-2, 2-1 in league) faces a new challenge: Beat defending champion Burroughs (3-3, 3-0) today at 7 p.m. at Moyse Field and jump right back in the title fray or lose to the Indians and spend the rest of the season fighting for their very playoff lives.

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"If we beat Burroughs, the last three weeks we're part of a league championship run, we've got a shot, we're in the race," said Crescenta Valley Coach Paul Schilling, whose team also started 2-0 in league last year before losing its last five games and missing the playoffs. "If we lose, we have to win two of three to even make the playoffs and be in fourth place, so that's how crazy every game is and how important [it is]."

Not only did Burroughs share the league title with Arcadia last season, but the Indians are currently the only unbeaten team in league and are one of only two league squads ranked in the CIF Southern Section Division, at 10th. The Apaches are ranked fifth despite losing to Burroughs, 41-29, on Oct. 7.

The Indians' offense runs on the legs of senior running back Zander Anding and the power of its offensive line, which together have been an unstoppable force in league. Anding has rushed for 1,515 yards and has scored 16 touchdowns on the season, while breaking the school's single-game rushing record three times already, most recently with 393 rushing yards on 22 carries in Thursday's 70-34 win over Glendale.

"We'll know exactly every time they come up to the ball what play they're going to run," said Schilling, whose team peaked at ninth in the division poll after beating Muir on Oct. 7, but has since dropped out of the top 10. "We'll know they're going to run the counter or they're going to run the stretch and they don't care. They've got a great offensive line and they've got this back and they're just going to say, 'Hey, we're going to run it right there and our guys are tougher than your guys.'"

The Indians rarely go to the aerial game, meaning the Falcons' defense will be up against a very different look than it saw against the Bulldogs squad that carved it up for a season-high in points allowed in Friday's 53-41 loss.

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