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It's a New Season: Alemany Upsets Crescenta Valley


VAN NUYS — New Year's Day arrived on a cool September evening for the Alemany and Crescenta Valley high football teams.

For the Indians, it was a night to bid an overdue farewell to a frigid 1-8-1 1992 season. For the Falcons, Southern Section Division II semifinalists last year, it was time to think about some new resolutions.

A tenacious Alemany defense forced four turnovers and gave the Indians the opportunities they needed to produce a 14-8 upset of Crescenta Valley on Friday night at Valley College.

Junior linebacker Gus Lira recovered two fumbles and his classmates, Tim Ross and Kelly Heidel, each intercepted passes to keep the Falcons, 11-2 last season, in check.

"We were confident," Lira said. "We knew straight out we were going to take this game."

Youthful clairvoyance aside, there was still plenty of doubt over whether Alemany (1-1) could sustain its game plan over four quarters. Memories of a blown 14-point lead against Canyon last season pervaded the sideline.

But that was a year ago. When the fourth quarter began with the Indians holding a 7-0 lead, they were the ones who made the necessary plays.

Alemany got the ball at midfield after a Falcon punt and held it for 5:54 until Brian Van Holten delivered his second one-yard touchdown run with six minutes to play.

"We had a good game plan against them," Alemany Coach Pat Degnan said. "It's like a concert pianist playing that Beethoven. When you play it right, it comes out nice."

Crescenta Valley (1-1), playing without quarterback David Fielder (sprained ankle) for the second consecutive game, couldn't get untracked until it was too late.

John Watts rallied from a two-interception start to complete four consecutive passes for 65 yards on the Falcons' final drive. Watts hit Matthew Taras for a nine-yard touchdown and Erik LaCom ran for the two-point conversion.

But by that time, only seconds remained. Alemany's Jon Saini recovered the ensuing onside kick to seal the victory.

"These kids have to learn it's a different year," Crescenta Valley Coach Alan Eberhart said. "They're not going to walk out and have magical things happen."

Alemany held Crescenta Valley to 39 yards in the first half and 144 for the game. The Indians had 211 yards of total offense.

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