When the Crescenta Valley High football team stepped onto Moyse Field on for the first time this season Friday night, it was Hudson Gossard’s first game as the Falcons’ head coach.
Gossard could not have asked for more from his team in Crescenta Valley’s nonleague opener against Santa Fe.
The defense forced three turnovers in the first half, while the offense scored four times in that span, as the Falcons shut out Santa Fe, 37-0, to start the season on a winning note.
“Once the game starts going, you kind of get back into the flow of the season like it is every year,” Gossard said. “We were able to find, offensively, the difference. We like to go into the game with different formations, and once we get in the game, we find the things that work, and we stick with those.”
Crescenta Valley switched off quarterbacks for most of the game, as senior Chase Center finished with 108 yards, three touchdown passes and an interception on eight-of-18 passing, while junior Brendon Pehar passed for 65 yards and a touchdown in a five-of-13 effort.
“I felt like both really did a great job tonight,” Gossard said. “They didn’t make my job any easier deciding what we’re doing moving forward. I feel like for Chase, he’s been on our varsity for three years and he brings that leadership quality and that calmness in the huddle.
“For Brendon, this is his first time playing in a varsity game and I felt like he handled it very well. Both quarterbacks bounced back from mistakes, so we’re looking forward to a great season.”
Receiver Vincent Parrot caught two touchdown receptions and had catches for 33 yards and running back Maximus Grant finished with nine carries for 78 yards and a rushing touchdown to go along with two receptions for 28 yards and a touchdown.
Despite an early interception, Center regrouped on the Falcons’ second drive to throw his first touchdown pass on a 31-yard strike to Vincent Parrot to give Crescenta Valley a 7-0 lead at 4:42 in the first.
At 3:32 in the opening quarter, the Falcons defense forced the Chiefs to turn the ball over on downs and seven plays later, Center threw his second touchdown pass to Grant for a 16-yard score and the 14-0 lead with 1:04 left in the first quarter.
Pehar started the Falcons’ first drive of the second quarter and took five plays to give Crescenta Valley a 21-0 lead on a 28-yard pass to Colby Rees at the 8:47 mark.
“We all communicated really well,” said Center of his quarterback partnership with Pehar. “If someone’s doing something wrong, we help each other. We’re both totally different quarterbacks. It’s just whoever gets the job in the ends.”
Falcons cornerback Zeal Shumate intercepted a Santa Fe pass at 7:10 in the second quarter set up another scoring drive for the hosts.
It took three plays before Grant ran the ball in for a one-yard touchdown that established a 28-0 lead with 5:10 left in the half.
“We expected this to happen,” Grant said. “We practiced great all week as a team and we were prepared for tonight.”
Crescenta Valley kicker Anthony Sharlakian made it a 31-0 halftime lead for the Falcons with a 29-yard kick with just two seconds left.
Center threw his third touchdown pass of the night to Parrot for a five-yard score with 1:19 left in the third to cap the Falcons’ scoring.