From one summer to the next, much has changed for the Crescenta Valley High football team.
As the hottest months burned away in 2017, the Falcons were winning passing tournaments and seemingly ahead of schedule.
This time around, Crescenta Valley is trying to get some less experienced players on board and prevailing in passing tournaments isn’t as paramount as gaining experience, learning the playbook and solidifying starting roles.
“We have a few little growing pains, because this time last year we were so far ahead, because so many guys were full-time football guys,” said Falcons coach Paul Schilling, whose team went 8-3 last season, finishing third in the Pacific League and losing in the first round of the CIF Southern Section Division VI playoffs to Mira Costa. “I think we’re probably [at a] normal [level], it’s just last year we were really far ahead, so it feels like we’re a little behind.”
The Falcons lost quite a few players, most notably four of five starters on the offensive line and their team leaders.
“We lost a lot of guys. The new guys are rebuilding [on the offensive line]. Just communication, working on technique. The coaches are doing a good job,” said junior Armen Erdoglyan, the one returning starter on the o-line. “A lot of them aren’t experienced, but they’ll get there. They’re adjusting well.
“Every 11-on-11, I can tell they’re getting better.”
With the Arroyo Tournament, Crescenta Valley will conclude its summer session on July 7 before returning on July 30 to begin preparing for its season opener on Aug. 17 in a zero week tilt against Redondo Union at Glendale High’s Moyse Field. So, the season is coming on fast.
“That’s crazy,” returning All-Area quarterback Cole Doyle said. “We play like five days before school starts.”
Indeed, the first day of school for Crescenta Valley is Aug. 22. Two days later, the Falcons will play their second game of the season as they’ll compete three times in August as the CIF sports calendar has been moved up.
So, getting up to speed is paramount.
“I think the most important aspect is to master our playbook,” Doyle said. “I think over the summer, we’re trying to learn all those little, tiny things.”
Schilling has seen progress with Tommy Lee and Chuck Meyer, who have taken to their new positions as tackles on the offensive line.
Colby Rees and Vincent Parrott returning to practices after they were part of the school’s baseball team’s CIF Southern Section Division II run also solidified things.
“As far as skill-wise, I think we’re similar [to last season], but as far as the offensive line, most of those guys are gone,” Doyle said. “The guys we do have, though, they’re starting to look good.”
Some of those skill guys are Parrott, Rees, Daniel Baek and Ange Ochoa.
One of Schilling’s biggest goals is to have a starting lineup by the end of the summer, which means deciding starters and also deciding where two-way starters’ priorities will lie.
“That’s something we’re working on is solidifying what positions guys are going to play in,” Schilling said.