PASADENA — The Pasadena High football team knew it could score on Crescenta Valley in Friday's Pacific League game, and the Falcons knew that they would have fits against the Bulldog offense.
The only question was whether the Bulldogs — who allowed more than 40 points in each of their previous two league contests — could stop the Falcons enough times to win.
Pasadena proved it could stop Crescenta Valley when it needed to.
The Bulldogs shut down the Falcon offense for the majority of the second half and exploded for 33 unanswered points in the process en route to 53-42 home win.
Crescenta Valley's second-team offense scored two touchdowns in the final two minutes to make the score respectable.
"It's beautiful," Pasadena quarterback Brandon Cox said. "It's the first time we've played together as a team."
The Bulldogs (3-3, 2-1 in league) took on a Falcon team (4-2, 2-1) that was talented itself. Crescenta Valley scored the game's first 14 points, and the contest seemed primed for a shootout after Pasadena scored two touchdowns to cut Crescenta Valley's lead to 14-13. With CV holding a 28-27 lead entering the second half, the Pasadena defense clamped down and the Falcon offense made too many mistakes that the Bulldogs capitalized on.
Crescenta Valley had 220 yards of total offense in the second half, but 130 of those came in the final two drives against Bulldog substitutes.
"As soon as we got a couple of penalties, we started pouting," said Falcon Coach Paul Schilling, whose team committed 11 infractions for 93 yards. "Hopefully we learn from that. They came out and they made plays. I compared it to a passing league game. You get two stops and you win the game. They got the stops."
Once Schilling commented on his team's offensive woes, he couldn't stop praising Cox.
"He's the man," Schilling said of the junior. "He's legit. We had four game plans and none of them worked."
Cox was nearly unstoppable, engineering eight straight scoring drives, six of which ended with him accounting for a score.
Cox was 15 of 24 passing for 298 yards and four touchdowns. He also rushed 10 times for 52 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
His 55-yard touchdown pass to 5-foot-6 wide receiver Riian Simpson gave the Bulldogs a 34-28 lead just 45 seconds into the third quarter. Simpson caught five passes for 167 yards and two touchdowns.
"It's great to have a quarterback like him," Pasadena Coach Randy Horton said. "He's grown up, he's taking command of the offense."
The teams exchanged one touchdown after another for the majority of the first half, with the only difference in the score being a missed Pasadena extra point.
Crescenta Valley quarterback Zac Wilkerson had three rushing touchdowns, running in from 28, 1 and 17 yards. Forrest Green provided the other Falcon first-half touchdown with a three-yard run to give Crescenta Valley a 7-0 lead.
Falcon running back Marro Lee carried the Falcons to those touchdowns. He rushed for 157 yards in 18 first-half carries. However, Lee and Wilkerson were limited in the second half, as the Bulldogs' defense and Cox dominated.