They were like two boxers ready to spring into action, and as predicted a slugfest ensued between Muir High and host Crescenta Valley.
After a tight opening half, the Falcons took command in the third quarter, only to see the Mustangs stage a rally in the fourth quarter, but ultimately fell short 27-20 in a Pacific League football showdown last Friday night.
There was high drama and low points, but it was defensive back Nick Ruiz’s interception of Muir quarterback Joshua Muema-Washington (10 of 30 for 235 yards with three touchdowns passes) that preserved the victory after the Mustangs (346 total net yards) advanced to the Falcon 34.
“We dropped into a [cover three]because we knew they were going to pass,’’ said Ruiz, a wide receiver who caught four passes for 115 yards and finished with two picks. “I had to make a play.”
The third quarter began with running back Marro Lee picking up 20 yards, but then fumbled at the Falcon 40. Lee (115 yards and 24 carries) fumbled just before Ruiz’s heroics.
“The first one I was fighting for extra yards,’’ said Lee, who had a four-yard run late in the first quarter that made it 7-6, “and the second I wasn’t focused and tried to do too much.”
The Falcons (4-1 and 2-0 in league) led 17-6 with 5:45 left in the third quarter when Zachary Wilkerson (seven of 19 for 154 yards and one interception) marched CV 90 yards on eight plays and drilled Ruiz with a 46-yard bomb.
CV (361 total yards) extended its advantage to 20-6 when kicker Pavle Atanackovic hammered a 34-yard field goal with just under 10 minutes left in the fourth quarter.
After pushing a 45-yard attempt wide left early in the first quarter, Atanackovic, who has drained a 60-yard field goal in practice, recovered and nailed a career-high 49-yarder with 4:18 left in the second quarter to make it 10-6.
Lee’s 15-yard run with 2:55 showing in the fourth quarter capped a four-play, 41-yard drive as CV was in the driver’s seat, 27-12.
Muir (2-3 and 0-2 in league) is blessed to have running back Tyrren Owens, who will be attending the University of Washington, and wide receiver Kevon Seymour, who has several dozen high-end Division I schools to choose from, on its roster.
Owens gained 25 yards in 15 carries and caught four passes for 91 yards, including a 66-yarder from Muema-Washington with 9:33 left in the fourth quarter that made it an eight-point deficit.
It became 27-20 when Muema-Washington hit Seymour (three catches for 110 yards) with a screen pass that turned into an 85-yard play and 2:23 remaining in the final quarter.