GLENDALE — After a dominant, one-sided performance, this year's "Battle of the Gong" between Crescenta Valley and Glendale was only a battle in name, as the Falcons cruised to a victory.
The Falcons, who have held on to the Gong four years running, didn't face resistance on either side of the ball en route to a 52-0 win Friday night at Glendale High.
In what was also both teams' Pacific League opener, the game lasted just less than two hours and was all but decided in the first half before a running clock for the entirety of the second half quickly ended it.
"We wanted to make sure they came out motivated," said Falcons Coach Paul Schilling, whose team improved to 3-1 overall. "We want to make it about us, what we're doing, not about them."
Schilling watched his offense spread the ball around, with six players scoring in the first half, including kicker Alex Atanackovic, whose 31-yard field goal was a bit of an anomaly in a 24-minute rout.
Brian Erickson got things started, capping a six-play, 71-yard drive with a two-yard touchdown run.
Glendale's offense couldn't get anything going from the get-go and went backwards six yards on its opening drive, giving the ball back to the Falcons.
Will Rees made sure only one play was needed on the drive, as he went in motion and took the ball on a handoff from Cole Doyle and took it 64 yards for a touchdown.
"I was trying to get the most yardage possible," said Rees, who finished with 87 total yards. "I saw the outside route, took it, and ended up with a touchdown."
Crescenta Valley's defense recovered Glendale fumbles on the next two Nitros possessions, resulting in 10 points off the turnovers. Tyler Hill bulldozed his way from 17 yards out to give Crescenta Valley a 24-0 lead with 9:53 to play in the second quarter.
Down 17 points at the end of the first quarter already seemed insurmountable for the Nitros (1-3), who finished with 28 total yards of offense in the first half.
"We couldn't sustain blocks to give our skill players any chance," Nitros Coach George Maiale said. "We tried switching, moving players in and out, but it was a constant struggle."
Crescenta Valley's Brandon Beardt and Max Meyer also found the end zone in the first half. Beardt took the ball at the Nitros' 31-yard line, took a hit and ran it in to increase the cushion to 31-0. Just over a minute later, Doyle found Max Meyer for a 22-yard touchdown pass.
Doyle, a sophomore, finished with 212 yards, completing 10 of 14 attempts. He hit Tyler Lobianco in stride on Crescenta Valley's opening drive of the second half, which saw only 27 plays - 17 from Glendale on the final drive of the game.
Lobianco's catch and run put him over the century mark in receiving yards (105 on three receptions) and made it 45-0. Joe Suh capped the game's scoring in the fourth quarter on a eight-yard rushing touchdown.
The Nitros drove the ball to Crescenta Valley's 15 and were determined to score but the Falcons held firm and secured the shutout.
Said Schilling: "They only give us 10 of these [league games]. We want to treasure them, have fun, and be aggressive.