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Falcons seize opportunity against Bulldogs

Football: Crescenta Valley gets off to hot start in important swing game in Pacific League playoff race.

October 27, 2011|By Gabriel Rizk, gabriel.rizk@latimes.com
(Tim Berger/Staff…)

SOUTHEAST GLENDALE — Aided by turnovers and short fields and served well by red-zone efficiency, the Crescenta Valley High football team built a first-quarter lead that would never be challenged Thursday night at Moyse Field.

And, considering that visiting Burbank played the Falcons dead even on the scoreboard the rest of the way, the first 12 minutes of Crescenta Valley's 35-14 Pacific League win may soon be remembered as the quarter that saved the Falcons' season, and possibly doomed the Bulldogs', as both squads needed a win to stay in the thick of the playoff hunt.

"This was a big win for us," said Crescenta Valley Coach Paul Schilling, whose team entered the contest one of three teams, along with Burbank and Muir, that were tied for fourth place and the final automatic playoff spot in league before improving to 5-3, 3-2 in league. "We're real excited."

Crescenta Valley received some gift-wrapped opportunities from the Bulldogs from the very start and capitalized to the tune of three first-quarter scores, the first coming on a four-yard run by Marro Lee (135 yards in 21 carries) on the second play of a 12-yard drive set up by Jack Lutynski's interception of Austin Mowatt on the Bulldogs' opening possession.

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"That was great because a couple weeks ago we were the team doing that," Schilling said. "Turnovers are the whole game. When you win the turnover battle, you're usually going to win the game. They made some mistakes and we were able to capitalize on them early."

Burbank (3-5, 2-3 in league) punted after three plays on its next possession and punted for a net gain of just nine yards to set up the Falcons with another short field at the Bulldogs' 32-yard line.

Quarterback Zac Wilkerson capped a four-play drive with a one-yard run for a 14-0 lead at the 6:38 mark.

Burbank mounted its first substantial drive of the night on its next possession, reaching the Falcons' 28-yard line before fumbling. Justin Springfield recovered the loose ball for the Falcons at the Burbank 44-yard line and Crescenta Valley kept marching down the field, completing a brisk five-play drive with a play-action pass from Wilkerson to Nick Ruiz for a 33-yard touchdown and a 21-0 lead with 1:33 to play in the opening quarter. Ruiz had a big night for the Falcons, catching three passes, all for touchdowns of 33, 24 and 12 yards.

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