Photos by Luke Quezada
The SPHS football team wasn’t to qualify for CIF on Saturday night, losing 55-14 to San Marino in its final game. The rival Titans were dominant from the start, scoring on every one of their first half possessions. The Tigers were unable to get any offensive rhythm early in the game, going three and out in all but one of their first half possessions.
South Pas was unable to contain San Marino’s running back from the opening drive, with the Titans easily marching down the field for a touchdown in under 2 minutes. The Tigers were unable to match the score from San Marino, punting the ball back after three plays for no gain.
The Titans continued to score with a balanced run,pass offensive attack. Their left-handed quarterback was able to keep the defense guessing with his ability to run and pass the ball. On its second drive, San Marino continued to assert its dominance up front, running up the middle for long gains. The Titan’s speedy, elusive running back, paired with their power-running QB was unstoppable in the first half. A ten yard quarterback run in the first quarter stretched San Marino’s early lead to 14-0 and made it clear the game would be turning into a lopsided affair.
In the second quarter, senior Matthew Walker was able to find room for a long reception, but had the ball poked out from behind. The turnover thwarted South Pas’ best first half opportunity, and left the team trailing 41-0 at the half. Despite the large deficit, South Pas came out in the second half and continued to give its best effort.
“They [San Marino] have a great team. They had a running back with outstanding speed, who we couldn’t contain,” Coach Chi said. “While the Seniors are gone, I hope the sophomores and juniors can learn from their mistakes and build on them.”
Led by seniors Sidney Luna-Long and Jackson Totleben, the Tiger offense was able to score in the second half. Following a long run from Totleben, a 10 yard quarterback keeper from Luna-Long on a read-option put the Tigers on the board in the 3rd quarter. After stepping in for injured junior quarterback, Justin Huff, Luna-Long was also able to throw for a touchdown. He connected with senior Dorian Torres in the middle of the field, who then outran the rest of the Titan defense for a 82 yard touchdown. The long score gave life to the packed student section, who were hungry for some offensive fireworks.
“It’s not easy [playing my last game],” Luna-Long said. “But I was with my guys, and we ended the way we wanted to and put up two scores in the end.”
After Friday night’s loss, South Pas’ final league record stands at 1-3, with a 5-6 record overall. For the first time since 2014, the Tigers weren’t able to qualify for the CIF playoffs. Coach Chi will hope to lead the team back to CIF contention next year, with the help of players from an undefeated frosh/soph team.