REDONDO BEACH — For much of the night, the Crescenta Valley High football team tried its best to come up with a big play on its offense in a nonleague road game against Redondo Union on Friday.
Though the Falcons led by six points until late in the third quarter, the offense struggled to adjust to the Sea Hawks’ physicality on defense. Add to the fact that the home crowd at Redondo Union was lively and intense, it wasn’t an easy task for the visitors.
Down the stretch of the third quarter, the running game proved to be the successful route for Crescenta Valley, which went on to score twice in the final two quarters to defeat Redondo Union, 21-7, to maintain its perfect start to the season in its final nonleague showdown.
“Our defense was the key to this game,” Crescenta Valley coach Hudson Gossard said. “The defense did an absolutely amazing job. If it wasn’t for the defense, we would not have been able to stay in this game. Redondo Union is a tough, physical team. It took us a while.”
Falcons quarterback Chase Center finished the game with 58 yards and two rushing touchdowns on 16 carries and was four-of-12 passing for 48 yards and two interceptions. Crescenta Valley running back Maximus Grant ran the ball 16 times for 121 yards and a touchdown.
Sea Hawks quarterback Daniel Webb recorded 98 yards and a touchdown pass on a nine-of-20 passing effort.
After just 113 yards of total offense in the first half, the Falcons (3-0) accumulated 116 rushing yards in the second half to hand the Sea Hawks (2-1) their first loss of the season.
“The play of our offensive line and our running back Maximus Grant was unreal,” Gossard said. “Also, with the element of having Chase Center being able to run the ball, we were able to come out of this dogfight and be on top.”
A bad snap on a Sea Hawks punt set up the Falcons on the Redondo Union 9-yard line before Center snuck in on a six-yard run to give Crescenta Valley a 6-0 lead at 9:33 in the first after the missed extra point.
Center was intercepted twice before the first quarter ended, once by Sea Hawks corner Markeece Alexander with 4:38 left, then by corner Daniel Webb at the 2:45 mark.
“Their blitzes,” said Center about what rattled his offense. “I wasn’t expecting as physical of defense as they were. Our offensive line didn’t really expect it, so we just had to get used to it.”
Grant put together 24 yards on five runs to help set up a 22-yard field goal attempt for Falcons with 2:35 left in the half, but the kick went wide.
After punting twice in their first two possessions of the third quarter, the Falcons took only two plays to score their second touchdown on a 28-yard run from Center. The quarterback found Grant to complete the two-point conversion and give Crescenta Valley a 14-0 lead with 2:53 left in the third.
Then in the fourth quarter, Grant capped a 10-play, 80-yard drive with a 13-yard rushing touchdown to extend the Falcons lead, 21-0, with 8:06 left.
“We went into halftime and just talked it out and figured it out,” Grant said. “We’re only getting stronger.”
Two, big penalties from the Falcons defense helped the Sea Hawks respond with an 11-yard touchdown reception to cut the Falcons’ lead to 21-7 with 6:40 left.
Crescenta Valley faces an undefeated Pasadena High to start its Pacific League run. The Bulldogs (3-0) host the Falcons on Sept. 20 at 7 p.m.