GLENDALE — With a new coach on board, one element will still remain exactly the same for the Crescenta Valley High football team — its schedule.
Once again, Crescenta Valley will fire up its team bus to travel up and down Foothill Boulevard for its first three games of the season before diving into Pacific League competition. In fact, it will mark the fourth season in a row that the Falcons will play the same teams, their longest journey taking them to face archrival Arcadia..
Crescenta Valley Coach Paul Schilling, who inherited the team from Tony Zarrillo in the spring, said it wasn't necessary to change the schedule. The Falcons' first three games will be nonleague contests against Verdugo Hills, St. Francis and La Cañada, all located on or just off the well-traveled Foothill road.
"The biggest thing for us is that we want to be able to play games at the beginning of the season that mean something," said Schilling, whose team will kick off its season at 7 p.m. Sept. 10 with an intersectional contest against host Verdugo Hills. "These are all battles of the boulevard for us and we want to be able to keep it going."
Crescenta Valley opened last season with a convincing 48-8 win against Verdugo Hills en route to finishing 8-4 and 5-2 in the Pacific League before advancing to the CIF Southern Section Southeast Division playoffs for the second straight season.
The Falcons, who took third in league last season, will then meet rival St. Francis in "The Battle for Foothill Boulevard" at 7 p.m. Sept. 17 at Glendale High's Moyse Field. St. Francis handed Crescenta Valley a 28-21 loss last season at St. Francis.
"That's always a great game," said Schilling, who served as the defensive coordinator last season. "There's always something special when the teams get together.
"So many of the athletes have played against each other going back to youth football. These guys see each other all of the time."
The Falcons then meet visiting La Cañada at 7 p.m. Sept. 24 at Moyse Field to wrap up nonleague competition. Crescenta Valley earned a 38-35 road win in last season's meeting.
"It's kind of like the St. Francis game," Schilling said. "La Cañada almost beat us last year.
"It's three good games to get us going because you get a good mix of the different leagues and their respective styles."
Crescenta Valley will then begin the league portion of its schedule at 7 p.m. Oct. 1 against Glendale, which is piloted by former Crescenta Valley Coach Alan Eberhart. Eberhart coached the Falcons for the better part of 14 seasons, posting an overall mark of 89-58-1 to go with five Pacific League championships.
"The hardest thing for me is that I know it's going to be a tough game," said Schilling, who saw Crescenta Valley cruise to a 56-14 win against the Nitros last season. "[Eberhart] is my mentor and I'm close with him.
"Glendale will be an improved team with some key players coming back."
Up next for the Falcons is a league encounter with Hoover, which suffered a 41-12 loss to Crescenta Valley last season. The teams will meet at 7 p.m. Oct. 8 at Moyse Field.
Crescenta Valley will then compete against Muir at 7 p.m. Oct. 15. Schilling said he expects the Mustangs, who were handed a 21-14 loss by Crescenta Valley last season, to be improved.
"I think we've only beaten them one time there since 1978," Schilling said. "They always have that speed and that's hard to practice against."
The Falcons might see a similar style of play the following week. Crescenta Valley will meet Pasadena at 7 p.m. Oct. 22 at Moyse Field.
The Falcons earned a 38-27 road victory against the Bulldogs last season.
"They also should have a lot of speed," Schilling said. "They put in the double-wing offense in the middle of the season and they are real scary."
Crescenta Valley will then play back-to-back games against a pair of teams from Burbank who shared the league championship last season.
The Falcons will first take on Burroughs at Moyse Field at 7 p.m. Oct. 28. Then they will battle Burbank at 7 p.m. Nov. 5 at Burroughs' Memorial Field.
"That's OK to play Burroughs in Week Eight because it's not like they are going to come out and try to surprise you," Schilling said. "They will try to pound you, so you have to be ready, and you are either tough or you are not.
"Burbank has got to be the league favorite. They have excellent players who are coming back. That game could possibly be for the league championship. We'll have to play to Burbank's level of play."
The Falcons dropped a 14-12 decision to Burroughs last season. They kicked off league last season with a 42-14 loss to host Burbank.
Crescenta Valley closes out the regular season at 7 p.m. Nov. 12 at Arcadia. Crescenta Valley picked up a 42-13 home win against the Apaches last season.
"Arcadia is our main rival," Schilling said. "That's a game that's always big for our school.
"It's a made rivalry because we are not that close, but it's always big any time you play Arcadia."
• Sept. 10 at Verdugo Hills, 7 p.m.
• Sept. 17 vs. St. Francis, 7 p.m.
• Sept. 24 vs. La Cañada, 7 p.m.
• Oct. 1 at Glendale, 7 p.m.*
• Oct. 8 vs. Hoover, 7 p.m.*
• Oct. 15 at Muir, 7 p.m.*
• Oct. 22 vs. Pasadena, 7 p.m.*
• Oct. 28 vs. Burroughs, 7 p.m.*
• Nov. 5 at Burbank, 7 p.m.*
• Nov. 12 at Arcadia, 7 p.m.*
*denotes Pacific League game
All home games at Glendale High