SOUTHEAST GLENDALE — Martin Marin was wide open.
All he had to do was catch Michael Davis' pass to help pull off a stunning comeback and a huge upset.
Marin wasn't going to drop the ball, although he nearly did.
After bobbling the catch, Marin held onto the ball and sprinted his way toward the end zone to cap an incredible game.
The Glendale High football team shocked Crescenta Valley on Friday night, rallying from a 10-point, fourth-quarter deficit to defeat the Falcons, 20-17, in a Pacific League game at Moyse Field.
“We stepped up,” Marin said. “We're tired of losing. We don't want to lose to CV again. We're way better than CV.”
For one night, Glendale (2-6, 1-4 in league) certainly was better than the Falcons (3-5, 1-4), as the Nitros notched their first win against CV since 2003 and their first league victory against an opponent other than rival Hoover since 2008.
“This win means a lot,” Marin said.
The win occurred for a multitude of reasons. Part of it had to do with Glendale's resilient attitude. Another part of it had to do with the Nitros' resurgent offense. And another part had to do with the Falcons' offensive struggles in the second half.
Glendale trailed, 17-7, entering the fourth quarter because it had troubles on offense and could not stop the Falcons' ground game.
The Nitros had 183 yards and just five first downs entering the final quarter, although they knew they had a shot of making the contest closer.
Glendale stayed close to CV because the Nitros finally made tackles on defense.
CV running back William Wang had 177 yards rushing and a score in the first half, and looked like he would have another one a minute into the second half when Kyle Tavizon returned the kickoff 85 yards to Glendale's five.
But a four-yard loss by Wang, followed by a one-yard loss by Tavizon pushed the Falcons back. Two penalties put the Falcons out of field goal range.
Suddenly, Glendale had confidence that it could stop CV, which had scored two first-half touchdowns on runs from Wang (five yards) and quarterback Ben Rees (one yard).
“They ran through us in the first half,” Nitro Coach John Tuttle said. “Our tackling was terrible. Offensively, we were not executing.”
Glendale executed on offense in the first quarter.
Running back Christian Osorio took the opening handoff 48 yards to CV's three. Two plays later, he scored from three yards out to give Glendale a 7-0 lead.
But the Nitros' offense stalled until the fourth.
With the Falcons double-teaming Davis and plugging the holes that Osorio tried to run through, Glendale had to do something different.
That's where Marin stepped in.
With the middle of the field wide open because of the Falcons' attention to Davis on the other side of the field, Glendale quarterback Kevin Felix found Marin open on four slant patterns.
With Glendale trailing by 10, Marin took another pass from Felix, broke a tackle and scored on a 36-yard play to cut CV's lead to 17-13 with 7:43 to play.
Glendale still had to make a defensive stand against a frustrated Falcons team that did not want to lose and was mistake-prone with 13 penalties for 96 yards.
Glendale stood strong, forcing CV to punt and taking over on its own 29.
With four minutes to play, Tuttle made a gutsy call.
On fourth and one from his own 40, he asked Felix if he could complete a quarterback sneak for one yard.
“Yes sir,” Felix replied.
Felix ran for two yards and a first down. Two plays later, Glendale faced a third-down play from its own 40.
Earlier in the game, it ran a reverse play for Davis, a speedy receiver who rushed seven times for 32 yards.
Tuttle called for Davis to take a handoff again, but this time, he would ask Davis to throw a pass.
Davis took the handoff from Felix, took a few steps, stopped and noticed Marin uncovered down the right sideline.
“I was wide open,” said Marin, who caught five passes for 134 yards. “Touchdown.”
CV Coach Paul Schilling expected a trick play, even if his players didn't.
“They did a great job,” said Schilling, whose team was limited to 14 yards of total offense in the second half, with Wang finishing with 172 yards, as he had two losses for 10 yards, in addition to a pair of runs for five yards.
“We didn't play well. We didn't deserve to win. We didn't play well enough to win.
“They out coached us and they outplayed us.”
CV still had a chance to win in the end, but pinned deep in its own territory, four straight incomplete passes sealed the Nitros' win.
“You want to win, you have to make plays,” Tuttle said. “This win gives the kids confidence that they can play. It's not just about Week 10 [and playing against archrival Hoover]. It's all about getting better.
“I'm happy for our kids. They worked hard. They put in the effort.”