Crescenta Valley football has but one change to schedule

Throughout the seasons, Crescenta Valley High’s football schedule seldom changes.

That trait remains largely unchanged with the 2014 slate, as a second-week showdown at home against Golden Valley brings about the only new foe for the Falcons.

Much of the reason the Falcons’ schedule rarely changes comes with the lack of nonleague contests when playing in the eight-team Pacific League coupled with Crescenta Valley’s long standing tradition of rivalry games against Verdugo Hills and La Cañada.

“The Battle of Foothill Boulevard” against St. Francis was another staple of the Falcons’ nonleague slate until Crescenta Valley took on San Marino in 2012. The Titans won, 27-7, that season before the Falcons rebounded with a thrilling 56-53 win in 2013. Hence, Schilling was a bit surprised when San Marino decided not to renew the game.

“We were surprised at the San Marino thing because we had two good years in a row and we split,” Schilling said, adding that the teams had also matched up well on the lower levels. “We were definitely surprised.”

Replacing San Marino will be Golden Valley, a program that comes out of the well-regarded Foothill League, but historically is recognized as a struggling squad, as its 2-8 mark last season would attest. Still, Schilling believes it might be a step up in competition and physicality.

“Really, Golden Valley’s probably better physically,” said Schilling of Golden Valley in comparison to San Marino. “There’s a lot of good football players in the Santa Clarita Valley.”

The Golden Valley road game at Canyon High will come Sept. 12, a week after the Falcons’ season opener Thursday, Sept. 4 at home at Glendale High’s Moyse Field against Verdugo Hills.

It will mark the first of six games at Glendale High for the Falcons, with five of them considered home games. Last season, the Falcons thumped Verdugo Hills, 54-20, and have won the last five games between the intersectional rivals dating back to 2007, with last season’s game rekindling the rivalry that took a respite when Crescenta Valley faced Santa Paula for two years.

Following the Golden Valley game, Crescenta Valley faces rival La Cañada in an annual tilt that now pays homage to beloved former Falcons head coach and assistant Gordy Warnock. It’s been a one-sided rivalry, however, with Crescenta Valley claiming victory, 42-14, a season ago and having won the last seven head-to-head matchups.

After that, the Falcons begin the seven-week Pacific League season. A year ago, Crescenta Valley finished 8-2 and 5-2 in league, tying for second place with Burbank and Burroughs, but losing out on a tiebreaker and missing out on the CIF Southern Section Southeast Division playoffs.

“Definitely, Burbank has got to be the favorite,” Schilling said of this year’s forecast. “Muir, you never know. We never know what kind of team Muir is gonna have until the season starts, but you can guess they’re gonna be good and Burroughs, just cause [Indians Coach Keith Knoop] is gonna coach them up, will be up there.”

CV begins league against Burroughs, which handed the Falcons their first defeat of the season a year ago, on Sept. 26 at Moyse Field.

Then it’s off to Burroughs High’s Memorial Field to face Burbank on Oct. 3, with the Bulldogs no doubt looking to avenge a 48-47 overtime loss to Crescenta Valley in 2013.

Crescenta Valley then has back-to-back games against teams it defeated last season when it plays host Glendale Oct. 10 and visiting Hoover on Oct. 17.

Then it’s back on the road to face Muir with the Mustangs possessing what most in the league believe to be the staunchest homefield advantage.

“It’s just a really tough place to play,” Schilling said.

Muir beat the Falcons, 39-26, last year en route to the league title and has won the last two meetings and three of the last four.

From there, the Falcons have a short week, playing their second Thursday game of the season when they take on Pasadena, a team CV defeated, 43-18, to open league last season.

And, as usual, the Falcons will conclude the regular season against archrival Arcadia, this time on the road Nov. 7. Crescenta Valley won last year’s tilt, 49-14, and has won two season in a row, consequently having finished its year on a winning note, though it’s no doubt looking to return to the playoffs after this season’s Arcadia matchup for the first time since 2011.

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