LA CRESCENTA — Though it’s only May and it’s only passing league, Crescenta Valley High’s football team certainly wasn’t treating Friday afternoon’s first day of the Gordy Warnock Memorial Passing Tournament like any old spring day.
Facing Pacific League-foe Burroughs in their second pool-play game of the day, the Falcons rushed onto offense with less than a minute remaining in a back-and-forth contest.
Alas, a deep ball into the back corner of the end zone by quarterback Ben Rees drifted through the fingertips of receiver Connor Van Ginkel, whose outstretched dive came up just short, as the Indians prevailed, 22-16.
“It means a lot to us, it’s our tournament,” said running back Kyle Tavizon, who hauled in a pair of Rees touchdown passes in the game. “We need to win our tournament.
“We came out here with a good attitude. ... We just needed to make some changes. We’ll make them tomorrow.”
Crescenta Valley began the day with a 28-18 win over Sylmar and will conclude pool play against Los Angeles Marshall on Saturday morning at 9, with bracket play in the eight-team tournament set to begin at 12:15 p.m. Arcadia, Eagle Rock, Verdugo Hills and Hart make up the other pool.
“It’s their first competition,” said Falcons Coach Paul Schilling as to the reasoning that his team was so fired up.
Crescenta Valley has taken part in more than a dozen passing leagues at Granada Hills and Alhambra, but Schilling said they were more or less seven-on-seven scrimmages without keeping score.
“It wasn’t competitive,” he said. “It’s like practice with another team.”
But Friday was plenty competitive, as the Falcons and Indians engaged in a physical, sometimes chippy game.
Down, 8-0, Crescenta Valley rallied with two-point interceptions on defense from Rees and Van Ginkel sandwiched around a Rees-to-Tavizon eight-yard touchdown. The Van Ginkel pick gave the Falcons a 10-8 lead.
Burroughs scored form three yards out to go back up, 14-10, before Van Ginkel hauled in a beautiful leaping grab along the sideline for a 36-yard grab on the 40-yard field. On fourth down, Tavizon scored again off a Rees pass for a 16-14 lead.
Burroughs would answer right back, though, scoring on a 13-yard pass and notching a pick on the ensuing Falcons drive for the final score of the game as the teams’ last four drives went without a score.
“We were playing good ball,” Tavizon said, “we just didn’t make the necessary plays at the right time.”
Only a few miles away at Stengel Field, Crescenta Valley’s baseball team was playing a CIF Southern Section playoff game against Yucaipa. On the mound, Brian Gadsby got the start. Gadsby is also the starting quarterback and, along with the likes of Kevin Hello (receiver/defensive back) and Austin Brimes (linebacker) one of three starters on the baseball team, which also features football players Joe Torres and Wes Walker.
“In our offseason, we’ve only had Ben,” said Schilling of the quarterback situation in which Gadsby is the incumbent starter after a 2012 season in which Rees, Torres and Gadsby all had time under center. “It’s funny, we have four quarterbacks, but only two are with us.”
Schilling said he’s fine with it, though.
“We’re doing OK,” he said.
And he’s hoping for a little better than OK on Saturday when the Falcons wrap up the tournament.