Los Angeles Times

Football rivals Crescenta Valley Falcons, Glendale Nitros look to snap skids

It’s been nine years since the Glendale High football team defeated rival Crescenta Valley in a Pacific League game. But both teams are currently struggling in league play this time around.

Crescenta Valley Coach Paul Schilling said the Falcons (3-4, 1-3 in league) don’t plan to take the Nitros (1-6, 0-4) lightly when the teams meet at 7 p.m. Friday at Moyse Field.

“We’ve been pushing that to our players since our last game,” said Schilling, whose team has lost two games in a row, including a 38-21 defeat against Burbank on Friday. “For us to be at 3-4, we haven’t done anything yet.

“I told our players that the playoffs start now for us. It’s win or we are done. We have to win our last three games. It starts with Glendale, and we know they will play better.”

The Nitros, who have lost five consecutive games, would like nothing more than to play the role of spoiler against the Falcons. Glendale will look to beat Crescenta Valley for the first time since Oct. 17, 2003, when it posted a 38-37 double-overtime win. Glendale’s previous victory against Crescenta Valley came in 1991.

Glendale is coming off a 49-7 league road loss against Arcadia on Friday.

“For us, it’s just about trying to get better,” Glendale Coach John Tuttle said. “That’s our main goal.

“Defensively, we have to try to get after them because they have a big line. We have to go out there and play a little better and be able to execute.”

Crescenta Valley received another nice effort from running back William Wang. Wang finished with 85 yards rushing and one touchdown in 27 carries against Burbank.

Glendale’s top threat is senior wide receiver Michael Davis, who will attend Brigham Young University next year. Arcadia held Davis in check, limiting him to 34 yards of total offense.

“He’s the big guy for them, and he will be our main focus,” said Schilling, whose team recorded a 49-3 victory against Glendale last season. “We have to make sure we give him as few touches as possible.”

Burroughs vs. Hoover at Moyse Field, 7 p.m. Thursday: The Tornadoes will look to see how they match up against Burroughs, which shared the Pacific League championship with Arcadia last season, after posting a 37-8 league win against Pasadena on Friday. Hoover (3-4, 1-2 in league) beat Pasadena for the first time since 1986 and snapped a 17-game league losing streak.

Hoover running back Jesse Pina rushed for 138 yards and one touchdown in 20 carries against Pasadena. The Tornadoes will probably turn to Pina, a senior, to carry the offensive load against a Burroughs squad that’s won or shared three straight league crowns.

Burroughs (2-5, 2-2) suffered a 21-14 league road loss against Muir on Friday, giving up the winning score with 45.1 seconds remaining in the game. The loss snapped Burroughs’ two-game winning streak.

Burroughs running back Israel Montes finished with 41 yards rushing and one touchdown in 15 carries against Muir.

The Indians have won the first six meetings against the Tornadoes since joining the league in 2006, including a 42-14 victory last season. Burroughs has scored 330 points in the stretch against Hoover, averaging 55 points per contest.

Flintridge Prep vs. Rio Hondo Prep at Occidental College, 7 p.m. Friday: A feel-good story has transformed into one of a football team contending for a Prep League title at Flintridge Prep this year, as the Rebels are on a three-game winning streak.

“[Morale is] extremely high, but we are making sure we keep them focused,” said Flintridge Prep Coach Antonio Harrison whose team is 2-0 in league, 4-3 overall. “I already told them they’ve done more than anyone could have expected of them after last year. Now they have nothing to lose, they just have to go out there and play.”

Prep faces an all new test Friday in the form of the one other undefeated league team, the league title favorites and reining CIF Southern Section Northeast Division champions in Rio Hondo Prep, which has won the league crown five years straight and is 26-1 in league over the past six years.

“We are going to have to play a mistake-free game, come out and be the aggressors and be confident,” Harrison said. “Don’t worry about the score, continue to fight and only worry about what we can control.”

The Kares (6-1, 2-0 in league) stand as the Rebels' greatest test this season. Their dominance has extended outside of league in recent years as they’ve advanced to the CIF championship in three of the past four years and won two of them (2011 and 2008).

The Rebels, whose three losses have come by an average of 3.7 points, have proven they’re not only not playing the role of pushover this year, but they can play the bully if given the reason to, as well. It started with a 54-19 victory over Chadwick and they followed it up by putting wins together for the first time since 2010 with a 46-33 win over Pasadena Poly last Friday.

“They definitely know [they’re playing for a league title],” Harrison said of his team. “It was interesting at homecoming [against Chadwick] we came out and that was the first game where I think we learned how to put a team away. Poly was the first game where it was a dogfight and we had to come out and make adjustments at halftime, and they did. They stepped out on the field and got it done. The next step is to put it all together for four whole quarters.”

Rio Hondo Prep is a run-heavy team with 242 rush to 99 pass attempts this year, but has a capable quarterback in Colby Rivera, who’s completed 51 of 94 passes for 730 yards, eight touchdowns and two interceptions.

The Kares’ offense runs through Nate Tayco, though. The junior running back has 711 yards and 12 touchdowns on 89 carries. He also has 11 receptions for 193 yards and two scores.

Prep’s offense has packed a considerable punch as well this season, and Stefan Smith will undoubtedly be at the center of the Kares' defensive game plan, but Kurt Kozacik is another threat in the Rebels backfield.

Kozacik had 170 yards and three touchdowns on 19 carries last week, while Smith added a 56-yard touchdown run against Poly for his 15th score of the season. Prep quarterback Clayton Weirick also enjoyed a fine game, completing eight of 10 passes for 127 yards and two touchdowns.

Serra at St. Francis at 7:30 Thursday: Near falls have plagued the Golden Knights the last four weeks and things don’t seem to get any easier from one week to the next in the Mission League.

St. Francis (3-4, 0-2) will have the benefit of league home opener this week after its first two league losses were on the road at Cathedral (42-40) and Harvard-Westlake (41-36).

A year removed from a second-round appearance in the CIF Southern Section Western Division playoffs, the No. 10-ranked Golden Knights likely need to win their final three games to keep hope of a postseason berth alive this year.

St. Francis will first have to deal with Serra (5-2, 1-1), which edged the Knights last year, 44-30. The Cavaliers, who are No. 3 in the Western Division, are coming off a 42-3 victory over Cathedral in game in which it forced three interceptions.

Serra will have to deal with St. Francis quarterback Jared Lebowitz, who’s put together an impressive season. The senior has completed 133 of 237 passes for 1,898 passing yards, 17 touchdowns and just three interceptions.

The Cavaliers have a dual-threat quarterback in Jalen Greene, who’s passed for 1,287 yards, 13 touchdowns and 10 interceptions and run for 412 yards and five scores this year.

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