Photos by Oscar Walsh
The injury-plagued football team struggled once again on the road, falling 52-7 against the Arroyo Knights on Friday, September 7. The Tiger defense was unable to stop the Knights’ dangerous attack, conceding multiple big plays to their mobile quarterback. Their lack of pressure on the defensive end, coupled with a stagnant offense, resulted in their second preseason loss.
Arroyo’s offense quickly set the tone for the game, swiftly moving down the field and scoring on a three yard rush. The Knights’ defense followed suit, forcing a quick three and out. After the change of possession, the Arroyo quarterback calmly drove his squad down into the red zone, leading to a five yard touchdown.
During the touchdown play, senior defensive back Aidan Adams suffered a blow to the head. Play was stopped for an extended period while Adams was carted off of the field. He would not return to the game.
The game returned to the action, as the Tigers failed to convert a 3rd and 8 and proceeded to punt once again. The Knights continued their relentless attack and their quarterback lofted a pass to a streaking receiver for a 46 yard touchdown.
An injury came upon the Tigers during the Knights’ touchdown drive, with senior linebacker and running back Jacob Barnes being ruled out for the rest of the match after sustaining a right knee injury.
The loss of Barnes weakened the team and the offense produced yet another three and out. Arroyo responded by orchestrating a four play drive, resulting in a fourth touchdown. The Knights finished the first quarter in front, 28-0.
The Tigers struggled to create any offense and the Knights took over at the South Pasadena 47 yard line. Arroyo were creative with their play calls, mixing in shovel passes, runs, and their patented pass to the flat. The Tiger defense was pushed back into the red zone, but, seemingly rejuvenated, made a crucial stop. Faced with some resistance, the Knights turned to their bread and butter: a dump off pass to the flat. The Tigers read it well, swarming both sides of the field, pressuring their quarterback into an incompletion. Another defensive stop led to a 4th and 3 for the Knights. They opted to attempt a fourth down conversion and succeeded, extending their lead to 35 points and destroying any momentum that the Tigers had generated.
The Tigers looked deflated on the field during their next drive and Arroyo regained possession. They sped to the five yard line and set up at field goal that ended the half 38-0 in the Knights favor.
The second half provided more of the same frustration for the Tigers. On their opening second half drive, they fumbled the ball and the Knights recovered, leading to yet another touchdown. The offense continued to underperform, as junior quarterback Samuel Luna-Long was constantly pressured by the powerful Arroyo pass rush. Arroyo High trotted down the field once again and scored, making the score 52-0.
The Tigers regained possession after a touchback and Hong had a quartet of carries that moved South Pasadena down to the 40 yard line. The offense, lead steadily by Luna-Long, slowly moved down the field and settled themselves just outside of the red zone. Luna-Long threw a quick screen pass to senior Jordan Bounyaseng, who squirmed his way to the sideline and scored the first points for the Tigers.
A weak pash rush generated little to no pressure and the Knight offense was able to calmly assess their options and march down the field. The Tigers offensive line, missing two starters, was unable to pass protect or run block, limiting the offensive opportunities.
“I think we got to work on the team chemistry, working together and pulling in the same direction,” head coach Jeff Chi said. “I think sometimes it looks like we’re lost out there…so we just got to focus on knowing our assignments and playing for one another.”
The Tigers will look to get back on track at home next Friday, September 13, when they face the Alhambra Moors. South Pasadena defeated the Moors 27-0 last year.