Los Angeles Times

Crescenta Valley, Hoover football look to take off running Friday

Though the Crescenta Valley High and Hoover football teams are stuck at the bottom of the Pacific League with identical records of 3-5, 1-4 in league, there still figures to be at least a story line or two when the teams battle at 7 p.m. Friday at Glendale High’s Moyse Field.

For starters, it might figure to be a quick game, as the Falcons and Tornadoes have been more inclined to run the ball this season. The contest will also pit two of the top running backs in the league. The Falcons’ main back threat is William Wang and the Tornadoes will counter with Jesse Pina. Wang and Pina have each enjoyed breakout seasons for their respective teams.

Wang has rushed for 987 yards in 158 carries and nine touchdowns.

“Crescenta Valley has put an emphasis on running the ball and they have a good one in William,” said Hoover Coach Andrew Policky, whose team suffered a 42-13 league loss against Burroughs on Oct. 18. “They will be a challenge for us and they have good zone blocking schemes and a good offensive line.

“We have a lot of respect for CV. They have a coaching staff that’s been together for a pretty long time. We have an opportunity to come back and believe we can win. That’s what’s going to make it fun.”

Unfortunately for Crescenta Valley and Hoover, they are tied for last place in the league with Glendale and Pasadena. The top three teams from the league earn automatic spots into the CIF Southern Section Southeast Division playoffs, which will begin Nov. 9.

Crescenta Valley Coach Paul Schilling said the Falcons, who have lost three games in a row, are looking to regroup from a 20-17 loss against Glendale on Friday. The Falcons squandered a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter, leaving them stunned.

“Our guys were down because it’s a very hard loss,” Schilling said. “We just have to go out there and play a better game.”

Crescenta Valley earned a 35-0 win against the Tornadoes last season.

Burbank at Glendale, 7 p.m. Thursday: The Nitros are coming off their biggest win of the season, a 20-17 Pacific League victory against rival Crescenta Valley on Friday. It marked the first time since 2003 that the Nitros beat the Falcons. Now, Glendale (2-6, 1-4 in league) will look to ride that momentum against a Burbank squad that’s 5-3, 4-1 and looking to earn one of the three automatic playoff berths from the league.

The Nitros figure to have their hands full against the Bulldogs, who are ranked No. 10 in the latest CIF Southern Section Southeast Division poll. Burbank saw its four-game winning streak come to a close Friday with a 24-17 league road defeat against Muir.

Glendale, which overcame a 10-point deficit in the fourth quarter against Crescenta Valley, will be led by wide receiver Michael Davis. The Brigham Young University-bound Davis has mostly been double teamed throughout the season, leaving opportunities for other players to contribute. Glendale found one in wide receiver Martin Marin, who caught the game-winning touchdown to topple Crescenta Valley.

The Bulldogs will rely on running back James Williams, who rushed for 111 yards in 16 carries against Muir.

Burbank is 5-1 against Glendale since joining the Pacific League in 2006, including a 56-21 win last season.

The Bulldogs’ defense is allowing just 16.5 points per contest.

Chaminade at St. Francis, 7 p.m. Friday: The odds of making the CIF Southern Section Western Division playoffs appear slim after the Golden Knights lost their first three Mission League games against Cathedral, Harvard-Westlake and Gardena Serra. Expect St. Francis (3-5, 0-3 in league) to face another tough test against Chaminade (7-1, 3-0). The Eagles have won four in a row and are No. 2 in the latest division poll.

St. Francis suffered a 41-6 loss to visiting Serra on Oct. 18. The Golden Knights have lost four games in a row.

St. Francis might be up against its most difficult test against first-place Chaminade, which posted a 78-34 league road win against Harvard-Westlake on Friday.

While St. Francis Coach Jim Bonds said he’s aware of Chaminade’s lopsided victory against Harvard-Westlake, he's not about to let scores dictate his expectations.

“We lost to Harvard-Westlake, 41-36, and Chamiande beat them,” Bonds said. “You can’t go around and compare the scores.

“We believe Chaminade is a good matchup for us. Chaminade has speed in a few positions, but not like Serra has.”

St. Francis didn’t score a touchdown against Serra and was limited to 214 yards of total offense. St. Francis running back Daniel Kawamura finished with 63 yards in 12 carries.

It’s likely that St. Francis will be paying extra attention to star Chaminade running back Terrell Newby, who rushed for about 350 yards and a school-record eight touchdowns in the win against Harvard-Westlake.

“Newby is the guy who we have to stop,” said Bonds, whose team lost to Chaminade, 31-13, last season.

The Eagles have won two straight games against the Golden Knights. St. Francis’ last win against Chaminade came in 2009, when it rallied for a 32-25 victory.

Flintridge Prep at Webb, 1 p.m. Saturday: In one week, the Flintridge Prep football team will go from facing the top of the Prep League to the bottom, as it travels to Webb after hosting Rio Hondo Prep last week.

A victory would mean a top-two finish in league for the Rebels (4-4, 2-1 in league), who finished last in the standings in 2011, but Prep Coach Antonio Harrison knows full well the dangers of looking ahead.

“I told the kids a team like Webb is one of those teams where they have nothing to lose so they're going to come out with everything they have to pull out a victory and pull off an upset against us so we can't let up,” Harrison said. “We need a victory to lock up a playoff spot so we have to come out with the same mentality we have all year, like we have something to lose.”

The Gauls (1-6, 0-2) have struggled all year and all signs point to the Rebels being the favorites in their regular-season finale. Webb fell to Army-Navy (42-0) and Malibu (28-7), both teams Prep nearly beat and fell to in overtime, 32-30, and, 40-34, respectively. The Gauls, whose losses have come by an average of 31 points, also fell to Pasadena Poly (42-19) and Rio Hondo Prep (42-0), while the Rebels defeated the Panthers (46-33) and most recently fell to the Kares (48-12).

“I never consider ourselves favorites in any game because anything can happen any given day,” Harrison said. “I want to make sure the boys are prepared and are expecting to do their best. It's nice to know people are believing in us and our skill more than last year, but to us it doesn’t matter. We also have to redeem ourselves from last week and take some positives into the playoffs.”

Flintridge Prep figures to look to its senior running backs Stefan Smith and Kurt Kozacik for the majority of its offense again this week after they tallied 96 and 76 yards, respectively, against Rio Hondo.

Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times