PASADENA — It didn’t matter what the Muir High football team threw or ran at visiting Crescenta Valley during Friday evening’s Pacific League opener for both schools.
That’s because the Falcons’ defense was stifling and the offense was methodically bruising in an impressive 31-7 victory in a battle of undefeated teams.
The triumph was the fifth in a row for Crescenta Valley (4-0) over Muir (3-1), with three straight wins now in Pasadena. Over the last three contests, the Falcons have hammered the Mustangs, 97-15.
“This was a big one for us,” Crescenta Valley coach Paul Schilling said. “In the preseason, we just felt like we were the better team and we should have won. Tonight, it was a toss-up and to come here and shut them out until two minutes left, that’s insane.”
Quarterback Cole Doyle enjoyed another strong effort, completing 11 of 17 passes for 201 yards and one touchdown with one interception. The 5-foot-9 passer was also a bulldozer on the ground, again leading his team with 149 rushing yards on 22 carries with two scores.
Yet, the defense was the story.
The Falcons held the Muir quarterback trio of Brian Love, Amaris Harrison and Tyquise Solomon to eight-of-24 passing for 98 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions. Each quarterback was picked off once with Angel Ochoa, Vincent Parrott and Colby Rees registering the takeaways.
Muir’s quarterbacks were also sacked five times and tackled behind the line of scrimmage seven times as the Mustangs never picked up more than two first downs on any drive.
Crescenta Valley’s defense also stood strong when others faltered, such as when a muffed punt gave the Mustangs the ball at the Falcons’ 21 with 8:23 left in the third quarter and Muir down, 21-0.
The Mustangs advanced to the seven before being pushed back on a holding call and eventually turning the ball over on downs thanks to a strip sack from senior lineman Tom Lee at the 17.
“We work on our pass rush every day for every down,” said Lee, who finished with 2 1/2 sacks. “We just tell ourselves we have to get to the quarterback.”
A Muir team that had scored 119 points in three preseason triumphs avoided its second straight home shutout loss to Crescenta Valley in three years thanks to a botched punt that gave Muir the ball at the Falcons’ 18 with 2:21 left.
Solomon connected on a 16-yard touchdown pass to Caleb Snowden at 1:31 to leave the score at 31-7.
Other than that touchdown, the game completely belonged to Crescenta Valley.
Doyle led the Falcons to a 14-0 lead after one quarter on touchdown runs of 21 and 15 yards.
After a Muir turnover on downs on the Crescenta Valley 22 midway through the second quarter, the Falcons drove 78 yards on 11 plays and scored on a Daniel Cho one-yard touchdown run with 1:05 left in the first half to take a 21-0 advantage into the break.
Crescenta Valley added a 27-yard touchdown pass from Doyle to Ochoa with 12 seconds left in the third quarter and a 29-yard field goal from Kevin McCollum midway through the fourth to finish its scoring.