SOUTHEAST GLENDALE — Every time the Crescenta Valley High football team found itself with an opportunity to trim the deficit against its archrival, something went wrong.
Three turnovers and a missed field goal played a major role in Crescenta Valley falling, 31-7, in a Pacific League final against Arcadia on Friday night at Glendale High's Moyse Field.
It wasn't what the playoff-bound Falcons (6-4, 4-3 in league) had in mind, as they were looking to climb to as high as a possible share of the league crown — albeit with some help. Instead, Crescenta Valley will enter the CIF Southern Section Southeast Division playoffs as the league No. 4 representative behind Burroughs, Arcadia and Pasadena. The playoff pairings will be unveiled Sunday.
"Turnovers were the key, but they were just better than us," Crescenta Valley second-year Coach Paul Schilling said. "We had to play a perfect game.
"Now, we have to get ready [for the playoffs] and get back to it."
Arcadia got two interceptions and recovered one fumble in improving to 8-2, 6-1. The Apaches, who are ranked No. 2 in the division behind West Covina, shared the league title with Burroughs (6-1 in league) for the second season in a row.
Arcadia took a 7-0 lead with 5:30 left in the first quarter on a four-yard run by running back Jake Medel.
Things took a turn for the worse for Crescenta Valley, which had it two-game winning streak snapped, on the ensuing kickoff.
Crescenta Valley's Nick Ruiz caught the kickoff and appeared to step out of bounds at the Crescenta Valley 35-yard line. However, the side judge ruled that Ruiz fumbled the ball and the Apaches recovered.
Schilling vehemently disagreed with the officials, but to no avail.
"To me, it wasn't a fumble," Schilling said. "That was a big game changer."
On the first play of Arcadia's drive, quarterback Myles Carr launched a touchdown pass to wide receiver Joey Wiilm to make it 14-0 with 5:10 remaining.
Early in the second quarter, Crescenta Valley quarterback Zac Wilkerson threw an interception that was grabbed by University of Washington-bound Taylor Lagace at the Arcadia 25-yard line. Lagace returned the ball to the Arcadia 42, but the Apaches couldn't convert on the miscue.
Crescenta Valley cut the lead to 14-7 on a five-yard run by running back Marro Lee with 2:54 left in the first half. Crescenta Valley marched down the field on its next possession, but kicker Pavle Atanackovic missed a 22-yard field goal with six seconds remaining.
"He never misses those," Schilling said.
The Apaches regained their two-touchdown advantage midway through the third quarter. Wilkerson took a snap and pitched the ball to running back William Wang, but Arcadia linebacker Brian Ponce grabbed the ball off Wang's left shoulder at the Crescenta Valley 23-yard line and raced into the end zone untouched to make it 21-7.
"We were trying to rally and that was a big play," said Lee, who finished with 93 yards rushing in 24 carries. "I think we just came out a little flat in the second half."
The Apaches made it 28-7 on a six-yard touchdown pass from Carr to tight end Robbie Haines with 2:54 left in the third quarter. Arcadia capped the scoring in the fourth quarter on a 28-yard field goal by Nick Pulciano.