Crescenta Valley football preview

Crescenta Valley High football players run drills on campus during the summer. The Falcons open their season this Friday. (Raul Roa/Staff Photographer)

At first glance, the Crescenta Valley High football roster is one rife with youth and largely inexperienced players.

Then again, neither the coach nor the team’s players saw 2012 as a success. The Falcons sputtered to a 5-5 record, falling short of the CIF Southern Section Southeast Division postseason and even relinquishing the city title with a loss to Glendale for the first time since 2003. That is a defeat that still looms bitterly among those in the Crescenta Valley locker room.

Thus, the impending 2013 season might very well be the fresh start the Falcons need. At least that’s what they’re hoping for following a 2012 that was best characterized as lacking.

“It was very disappointing,” said returning starter Davo Hakobyan. “It was not a season to remember.”

While the discontent of unfulfilled expectations might linger a bit, it appears that it’s serving to fuel the Falcons in their aspirations for an improved showing. The team will begin its season with Friday’s kickoff against City Section rival Verdugo Hills.

“Honestly, I was pretty shocked with how we played last year. There was a lot of games I think we should’ve won; we made a lot of mental mistakes,” said senior Kevin Hello, a starter at cornerback last season who’s made the transition to outside linebacker. “For the guys coming back from last year, our goal is to, at the least, do better than we did last year. ... I think that’s what our main goal is, to make CIF [playoffs].”

Along with the 5-5 overall mark, the Falcons went 3-4 in the Pacific League with the saving grace of consecutive wins against Hoover and Arcadia to end the year. Those victories were bolstered by the call up of quarterback Brian Gadsby from the junior varsity.

Then a sophomore, Gadsby would go onto an All-Area season on the baseball diamond, helping the Falcons to a share of the league title.

“He did amazing. He’s a competitor as you guys saw in the baseball season. He went out and won games for us. He did the same thing in football,” said senior linebacker Austin Brines, who is also an All-Area baseball player hoping to duplicate his diamond success on the gridiron. “It definitely makes me hungrier. I want to win two more Pacific League titles.”

Last year, CV’s season began with a battle for the starting quarterback spot, so an added benefit to Gadsby being the incumbent starter is how it affects the team in terms of chemistry.

The most glaring loss is also in the backfield.

Gone is All-Area 1,000-yard rusher William Wang. Junior Kyle Tavizon was slotted to replace Wang, but suffered a broken arm on the first day of practice in pads.

“He was the guy,” CV Coach Paul Schilling said of Tavizon, who could have see playing time at safety. “That was a huge loss.”

Thinking positively, Schilling is hoping Tavizon can return toward the end of league play with fresh legs during a hopeful playoff push. In the meantime, senior Hello and junior Jonathan Jun will handle duties at running back in the Falcons’ usual spread offense.

Making a push to the playoffs is definitely the task at hand for the Falcons after missing out a year ago.

“We think we could be in the mix,” Schilling said. “We know that Muir’s really good, we know that Burbank’s really good and Burroughs is always the best coached.”

If the Falcons are to fly higher in the standings, Schilling believes the receiving stable will be a catalyst.

“I’d say the strength would be our receiving corps and Brian,” Schilling said. “We really have more athletic depth than we’ve had in a while.”

Schilling expects 6-foot-2 junior Connor Van Ginkel to emerge as the No. 1 target, but expects a breakout season from sophomore Bostin Lakin. Junior Chase Walker, along with Hello, senior Ben Rees and junior Jordan Lobianco will round out the four-receiver set.