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Game of the Week: Crescenta Valley High football takes on Muir in first-place showdown

The following are previews of the area's upcoming high school football games this week.

A chance to grab sole possession of first place in the Pacific League will be a stake when Crescenta Valley travels to face Muir at 7 p.m. Friday.

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If nothing else, it’s led to Crescenta Valley players showing up a few minutes earlier to practice in preparation to tackle what’s expected to be their stiffest test of the season in Muir, which captured the league championship last season. The Falcons are 7-0, 4-0 in league and ranked fourth in the latest CIF Southern Section Southeast Division poll. The Mustangs (3-4, 4-0) are ranked ninth in the division..

“It’s so much fun when the two teams get together,” said Crescenta Valley Coach Paul Schilling, whose team will look to topple the Mustangs for the first time since 2011.”Usually when we’ve played them [in recent seasons], we were trying to squeak into the playoffs as an at-large team.

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“It’s different now. Both teams have so many great players and you can feel the buzz leading up to the game. Our guys will be prepared and you know Muir’s players will be, too.”

Crescenta Valley doesn’t have a recent history working in its favor. The Falcons are 3-7 in their last 10 matchups against Muir. Muir picked up a 39-26 road win last season.

Crescenta Valley has had difficulty winning at Muir. The Falcons have won twice at Muir since the start of the 1978 season with the last win coming in 2004, when Crescenta Valley, Muir and Arcadia shared the league crown.

“We’ve had some close games with them, some decided by a touchdown or less,” said Schilling, who took over the program in 2010. “We’ve been starting out fast in most of our games this year and we’d love to have that happen Friday.

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“We know it’s going to be quite a battle.”

Crescenta Valley earned a 42-7 league win against Hoover on Friday at Glendale High’s Moyse Field. Jordan Lobianco returned punts of 50 and 69 yards for touchdowns and the Falcons got a 12-yard interception return for a score from Jae Hong to make it 21-0 before Crescenta Valley’s potent offense got in on the act.

The Falcons also got a team-leading nine tackles from Brian Erickson. Crescenta Valley senior quarterback Brian Gadsby completed seven of 13 passes for 116 yards and one touchdown. On the season, Gadsby has completed 121 of 181 passes for 1,915 yards and 20 touchdowns.

Muir began the season slow, going 0-3 before winning four games in a row. The Mustangs played a difficult nonleague schedule that featured contests against Salesian, Cathedral and Hart. Salesian and Hart won CIF championships last season. Since the start of league, the Mustangs have outscored their opponents, 159-30.

“They have played excellent defense and their special teams play has allowed their offense to work with a short field,” Schilling said.

Muir enjoyed a breakout second half, as it scored 35 unanswered points to pick up a 56-16 league road win against Arcadia on Friday. Muir held a 21-7 halftime lead before getting a 41-yard touchdown run from Taeon Mason and a 21-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Chase Keough to wide receiver Brian Reyes to seal the victory.

St. Francis at St. Paul, 7:30 p.m. Friday:

St. Francis (7-0, 2-0 in league) will play its third straight Angelus League game on the road while continuing its run atop the CIF Southern Section Southeast Division.

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The Golden Knights (7-0, 2-0 in league) rallied from a 13-point halftime deficit to post a 51-41 win Friday against Cathedral, which is ranked third in the division. Avery Williams starred on both sides of the ball in the second half for the Golden Knights, who are seeking their first league championship since 1997. Williams scored on a three-yard run to bring the Golden Knights to within 34-28 and then returned an interception 24 yards to give St. Francis a 52-34 lead in the fourth quarter.

St. Francis received another big effort from quarterback Jeremiah Martin, wide receiver Dylan Crawford and running back Areg Nazarian. Martin completed 14 of 24 passes for 202 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for 116 yards and a touchdown, which gave the Knights a 38-34 lead. Crawford finished with four catches for 51 yards and two touchdowns and has four touchdown receptions in the last two games. Nazarian rushed for a game-high 171 yards in 18 carries and a pair of touchdowns.

St. Paul (4-3, 1-1) fell, 21-7, to host Salesian on Friday. The Swordsmen are 1-3 in their last four contests.

St. Francis and St. Paul formerly played in the Mission League before being switched the new Angelus League this season. The Golden Knights are 7-3 in their last 10 contests against the Swordsmen. St. Francis has won six games in a row against St. Paul.

Pasadena at Glendale, 7 p.m. Friday:

Glendale will attempt to snap a two-game losing streak, following a 41-21 league home defeat against Burbank on Oct. 16. The Nitros have lost five of their last six games to fall to 2-5, 1-3 in league.

A good start to the game against Pasadena (3-4, 2-2) might put Glendale in position to win. Glendale trailed, 26-0, against Burbank before pulling to within 26-21 on the first play from scrimmage in the fourth quarter.

The Nitros have fared well rushing the ball lately. Running back Luis Ruiz scored a pair of rushing touchdowns and Daniel Jung added a score on the ground against Burbank. Ruiz rushed 69 yards in 21 carries.

Pasadena won two games in a row before suffering a 17-14 league defeat against visiting Burroughs on Friday. Pasadena and Burroughs entered the fourth quarter tied at 7 before Burroughs broke through with 10 fourth-quarter points.

The Nitros’ defense figures to be put to the test by the Bulldogs, who present a steady offensive combination in quarterback Jorge Reyna and wide receiver Tyrek Adams. The duo accounted for both touchdowns against Burroughs. Reyna tossed second-half touchdown passes of 81 and 86 yards to Adams. Reyna completed seven of 24 passes for 203 yards and Adams caught four passes for 181 yards.

Glendale is 3-7 in its last 10 meetings against Pasadena. However, Glendale earned a 23-20 win last season. It marked the first time the Nitros topped the Bulldogs since a 26-13 victory in 2008.

Burbank vs. Hoover at Burroughs High, 7 p.m. Friday:

The Tornadoes remain in search of their first Pacific League victory. In addition, they are still trying to get their offense in gear while looking to end a five-game losing streak. Hoover (1-6, 0-4 in league) figures to have its hands full against Burbank (4-3, 2-2).

The Tornadoes come off a 42-7 league defeat against Crescenta Valley on Friday One bright spot for Hoover was that it scored its first offensive touchdown in four games when quarterback Ryan Williams scored on a one-yard run in the third quarter. In their first four league contests, the Tornadoes have been outscored, 176-14. Hoover has been shut out in three of its last five games while playing mostly short-handed because of injuries.

Vaughn Parawan finished with 11 carries for 89 yards for the Tornadoes against Crescenta Valley.

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Burbank, despite being hindered by injuries to standout running back James Williams and starting quarterback Ryan Meredith, notched a 41-21 league road win against Glendale on Oct. 16. The Bulldogs began the game against Glendale running the wildcat offense before turning to reserve quarterback Guy Gibbs, who completed seven of nine passes for 136 yards and three touchdowns. Wide receiver Nick Cantong finished with three receptions for 100 yards and caught a pair of touchdowns. Williams is out for the season with a knee injury and Meredith is recovering from a separated shoulder.

Burbank posted a 49-0 win against Hoover last season. The Bulldogs are 10-0 in their last 10 games against the Tornadoes and have posted five shutouts in that span. Since joining the Pacific League in 2006, the Bulldogs are 8-0 versus the Tornadoes.

Flintridge Prep vs. Mary Star of the Sea at Daniels Field, 7 p.m. Friday:

After splitting their first two Prep League games, including a 25-21 win against Firebaugh on Saturday at La Cañada High, the Rebels (5-3) will venture south to meet the winless Stars (0-7) in a nonleague tilt.

Flintridge Prep turned to junior quarterback Andrew Tsangeos in rallying to beat Firebaugh. Tsangeos completed 12 of 17 tosses for 123 yards and a touchdown and rushed for a game-high 129 yards in 25 carries and three touchdowns. Flintridge Prep trailed, 13-7, at halftime before enjoying a big second half.

Flintridge Prep’s Aldridge Khin collected three catches for 38 yards and one touchdown. The Rebels also received several big plays from their special teams. They blocked a punt, field goal and an extra-point attempt to improve to 4-1 in their last five contests.

Mary Star of the Sea suffered a 47-12 Santa Fe League road defeat against St. Genevieve on Saturday. The Stars have struggled throughout the season on defense, allowing 40 points per contest.

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