GLENDALE — This hasn't been the most memorable of weeks for the Muir High football team.
The week began with Coach Michael Harrison stepping down for the remainder of the season.
If that wasn't bad enough, the Mustangs' top tailback, Michael Graham, left the team, leaving Muir shorthanded for its Pacific League showdown with Crescenta Valley Friday night at Glendale High.
Thanks to a big-play defense, Muir's problems were forgotten not two minutes into the game as the Mustangs (4-2-1, 2-0) cruised to a 33-0 victory.
On Crescenta Valley's third play from scrimmage, quarterback Cody Blackburn lost control of the ball. Shaun Haslip picked up the fumble on the three-yard line and waltzed into the end zone.
"This has been a tough week," said Haslip, who replaced Graham at tailback. "Once we got that first touchdown, we got our confidence back."
Haslip haunted the Falcons (5-2, 1-1) on offense as well, gaining 161 yards in 19 carries, scoring on an 18-yard run early in the fourth quarter.
That gave Muir an 18-0 lead and marked the beginning of the end for the Falcons, who stayed close despite a lack of production from their own misdirection offense.
Crescenta Valley earned only four first downs and was held to 59 yards of offense.
Sophomore running back Kenneth Pritchitt, Crescenta Valley's leading rusher, was held to 26 yards in 13 carries.
Even switching quarterbacks didn't help the Falcons. Blackburn, Ryan McKnight and Mike Dely could not move their offense.
"We really thought we would be able to dominate on offense," Pritchitt said. "At halftime, we were still OK and then we had one bad play after another."
One of those plays was an aborted option pass by Pritchitt on the possession following Haslip's second touchdown. Steven Morse stripped Pritchitt of the ball and raced 51 yards to make it 26-0.
Backup tailback Sultan McCullough added a 44-yard scoring run in the final quarter.
The Falcon defense had been more resilient.
Muir came up empty on a 15-play drive taking most of the second quarter when Morse was stopped on a sneak by Jaime Busta on fourth down at the one-yard line.
Muir added to its 6-0 halftime lead with a 37-yard touchdown pass play from Morse to Deangelo Steward-Holmes early in the third quarter.