On almost every down, it seemed as if Falcons quarterback Karsen Reedy struggled to control the snap.
For that matter, there was very little anyone on the Crescenta Valley football team could control on Friday night in its CIF Southern Section Southeast Division quarterfinal playoff contest here at Charter Oak, as the top-seeded Chargers (11-0-1) cruised to a 40-9 victory.
“All year long, we’ve never not played hard, no matter what the score,” said Crescenta Valley head coach Tony Zarillo. “I was hoping we could get off to a little better start than we did, but we couldn’t and we didn’t. But I liked the way the kids played.”
That slow start — which appeared to be a common theme for Crescenta Valley (9-3) this season — proved to be fatal against Charter Oak.
The Chargers needed only four plays and about six minutes to score three touchdowns, as they stormed to a 21-0 lead. In that same time, Crescenta Valley kicked two punts, fumbled a snap, allowed two sacks, threw an interception and earned only one first down.
“It was definitely the wrong team to get off to a slow start with,” Zarillo added.
Junior running back Adam Muema carried the ball on three of Charter Oak’s first four plays, including scoring runs of 23 and 25 yards — both the only play of the respective scoring drive. The fourth play was a 28-yard touchdown toss from Chris Allen to Kiely Rycraw — one play after Muema found a small crease for a one-yard gain.
Charter Oak struck again 2 minutes into the second quarter, when Brandon Golden’s 45-yard touchdown run capped a three-play, 57-yard scoring drive to extend the Falcon lead to 28-0. Golden finished the game with 108 yards on 14 carries.
One possession later, Allen found Eric Rogers on a 46-yard pass on a third and 20, setting up a one-yard touchdown score by Golden. The Falcons blocked the extra point (two plays after the line earned its first sack of the game), and Crescenta Valley trailed 34-0.
After a fumbled snap and punt on its ensuing possession, Falcon senior defensive back Matthew Zilinksy blocked a Daniel Colby punt in the end zone with 40 seconds remaining. The ball bounced out-of-bounds, giving Crescenta Valley its first points of the game on a safety.
Despite a missed field goal on its first possession of the second half, Charter Oak found the end zone one final time, when the Chargers recovered another Falcon fumbled snap at the CV 16 and scored on a six-yard pass from Allen to Brandon Brooks.
Trailing 40-2, the Falcons finally mustered some offense in the fourth quarter, with an 11-play, 99-yard touchdown drive capped by a 12-yard touchdown run by Reedy.
The senior quarterback finished the game with 58 rushing yards on 17 carries and threw for 43 yards and an interception on 6 for 17 passing.
Harry Pessy ran for 78 yards on 10 carries for Crescenta Valley.
“They’re very good and they’re ranked where they are for a reason. They have a great combination of size, speed and quickness,” Zarillo said of Charter Oak. “We finished 9-3 (and) exceeded expectations in many ways and I’m glad we got to the second round of the playoffs.”