From Top clockwise: Amaris Harrison, Aryonis Harrison, Coach Antyone Sims, Brian Love By BRIAN REED BAIOTTO, Sports Editor Any football coach worth his weight in salt will tell you the game in front of them is the most important of the season. And while more times than not it’s just ‘coach-speak,’ Friday night’s showdown with […]
From Top clockwise: Amaris Harrison, Aryonis Harrison, Coach Antyone Sims, Brian Love
By BRIAN REED BAIOTTO, Sports Editor
Any football coach worth his weight in salt will tell you the game in front of them is the most important of the season.
And while more times than not it’s just ‘coach-speak,’ Friday night’s showdown with CV is not only the most crucial of the young season, it’s also a defining moment for the Muir program.
This current class of MHS seniors had never been 3-0, but after last week’s 55-13 beatdown of Rancho Christian, Muir finds itself in a very favorable position.
That said, this is when the stakes really start to rise.
As mentioned, the Pacific League title chase begins Friday and what better way to start than a head to head match up between the league’s only two unbeaten programs in 2018?
Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.
The Mustangs will also be back at full force when they welcome the Falcons.
There were 10 players suspended for the Rancho Christian game last week because of an altercation in Hayward back on August 31.
And while the loss of 10 players should’ve had a detrimental effect on the Mustangs, their 42-point victory said otherwise.
CV hasn’t played since August 31, when they defeated Montebello, 44-26.
The Falcons are coming off their bye week.
Muir’s offense has been incredibly balanced thus far.
Brian Love has continued his ascension at quarterback, and what’s made his play so special is not only the number of multi-TD games, it’s just as much the lack of mistakes and turnovers the senior has been able to avoid.
Jahlique Stephens, Reggie Myles and Tyron Clark have anchored the running game, and each has found their way into the end zone.
With their success on the ground, it gives Love and the passing game more space to highlight their aerial game.
Aryonis Harrison, Nick Moore and Caleb Snowden have been Love’s favorite targets.
The receiving corps at Muir is going to be a match up problem for any opponent, because of their speed and ability to turn what looks to be a routine reception into a big play.
And when Love is given a series or two off, Amaris Harrison comes off the sidelines and is a dual threat with his speed and arm.
When it comes to the Crescenta Valley offense, there are no secrets as to who the Muir defense will need to contain if they want to head home 4-0.
It’s CV quarterback Cole Doyle.
The Falcons’ senior averages 229-yards through the air and leads CV with 10 rushing touchdowns.
Doyle also averages nearly 140-yards per game with his legs.
In fact, Doyle has all 10 of CV’s rushing TD’s through their first three games.
Colby Rees and Angel Ochoa have combined for 22 receptions for 300 yards and two scores for the Falcons.
Aside from the obvious drama of two undefeated programs opening league play head to head, there is even more at stake for Muir.
If the Mustangs are able to leave their field Friday night as victors, the next month will see the Mustangs as favorites in games versus Hoover, Glendale, Burroughs and Burbank, in that order.
Those four programs are a combined 3-9 so far, and have been outscored by a combined margin of 443-210.
A win Friday would put them in a very favorable position to make a run at the Pacific League championship.
But as they’ll tell you, for night now, all that matters to Muir is CV on Friday night.
Keys to the game:
• Can Muir have its most disciplined game of the year and limit penalties?
• Will they be able to exploit their speed advantage?
• Does CV quarterback Cole Doyle get the time to throw and holes to run through?
• Will Aryonis Harrison continue to make big plays on offense & special teams and set the tone for the Mustangs?
• Can Brian Love keep up his elite play and all while remaining essentially turnover-free?
• Will MHS be able to use their home-field advantage in a nearly even match up otherwise?
Muir quarterback Brian Love: “We need to keep doing what we’ve been doing, be prepared and minimize penalty yards. It’s really important that we don’t turn the ball over, because CV will capitalize on them. As a quarterback, I need to bring the energy, pick my players up and carry out our game plan. It’s a huge game, but we’re approaching it like it’s just a regular game, where everyone does their jobs and we hope to leave our field with a victory.”
Muir receiver Aryonis Harrison: “A few things we need to do is to stick to our game plan, and while driving the ball, not get penalties that will cost us points. We have to be better in our turnovers and discipline, because a team like CV is looking for those mistakes to take advantage of. My individual role is to just make the plays I am supposed to, listen to my coaches, and just playing hard on every down. (Not having beaten CV as seniors yet) makes us hungry, because we want and need the first victory over them, especially for those of us that are seniors. A win Friday would also go a long way in the big picture for what this program hopes to accomplish this year.”
August 17: Muir 35, Charter Oak 24
August 17: Crescenta Valley 28, Redondo Union 7
August 24: Muir Had Bye Week
August 24: Crescenta Valley 27, Santa Fe 7
August 31: Muir 29, Stellar Prep 6
August 31: Crescenta Valley 44, Montebello 26
September 6: Muir 55, Rancho Christian 13
September 6: Crescenta Valley Had Bye Week
Pacific League Standings:
Crescenta Valley (3-0)
Friday’s Pacific League Schedule:
Crescenta Valley at Muir at 7
Pasadena at Glendale at 7
Arcadia at Burroughs at 7
Hoover at Burbank at 7
By The Numbers:
Points Scored: CV 99; Muir 119
Points Allowed: CV 40; Muir 43
Recent CV vs Muir Football Scores:
2017: CV 38, Muir 8
2016: CV 33, Muir 0
2015: CV 40, Muir 27
2014: CV 38, Muir 26
2013: Muir 39, CV 26