The varsity football team concluded its final game of the season after playing away at Citrus College against Glendora High School in a 34-0 loss. Even with the shutout, Friday marked the end of a historic run for the team. No South Pasadena football team had made it to the CIF playoffs since 2003 until this year after defeating the La Canada, Blair and Temple City teams.
The Tigers set the tempo high for the game as Glendora almost lost its first possession on a fumble. South Pasadena’s lockdown defense forced the Tartans to punt away with the momentum going to the Tigers. A fumble quickly zapped the South Pasadena offense with the ball turned over at the Tiger 31 yard line. Two first downs later, Glendora made its mark on the scoreboard with a seven yard bullet pass from the Tartan quarterback, three minutes into regulation, for six points.
The Tigers’ second drive saw better ball movement between junior quarterback Adam Arellano and the team’s receivers. Arellano’s first conversion reached the hands of junior tight end Ben Quirk for 12 yards. South Pas rode the momentum out to the Tartans 13 yard line, but fell short after going four and out.
Glendora quickly reacted after setting its offense in motion and took up large amounts of yardage in the first two drives. Good receiver coverage by the Tigers hampered the Tartans in their initial passes, but it wasn’t enough to stop the Glendora quarterback from connecting with his tight end in the end zone for another touchdown.
In the Tigers’ next drive, Arellano once again found himself under pressure from the opposing line to throw quickly. However, Arellano was able to pass to junior wide receiver Jalen Ross in the chaos. At fourth and one, South Pas decided to gamble for another first down with Arellano sneaking the last yard. A few plays later, the pass by Arellano would be picked off by the defense at the 21 yard line. Like clockwork, the Tigers’ defense led by Anthony Bakhshi once again stepped up to stop Glendora from completing another drive. Offensively, South Pas had trouble cracking the Tartan shell and was forced to turnover at the Tiger 31 yard line. After reaching the South Pas red zone, a ten yard rush furthered the Glendora lead. An offline kick put the number at 20-0, with the Tigers down.
The Tigers’ special team forced a fumble on the Tartan ball carrier when junior Anthony Quezada recovered the ball to give South Pas possession. It wouldn’t be long until an interception on fourth down exhausted the South Pasadena intensity before halftime. Glendora would tally another touchdown to extend to lead to 27 points.
Two catches by sophomore wide receiver Sydney Luna-Long renewed the team’s energy and moved the Tigers up with two back to back conversions. Two downs were converted by seniors Christian Carter and Emiliano Sornoso to bring the Tigers in striking distance to reach the endzone. Ross added a few more yards of running to bring the team to the 19 yard line. This would be the closest the Tigers got to scoring position, with the team’s last down failing to produce any viable headway.
“We wanted to challenge Glendora since they’ve seen so much running opposition, so we dialed up Adam Arellano and really challenged Glendora to stop it,” coach CB Richards said. “There were a couple drops here and there but for the most part I thought it was really successful to see that in the future.
The Tartans closed out with the last touchdown of the night for their fifth conversion to the end zone and total up a final score of 34-0.
“I’ll never forget this team and how we came together as a family and this was a true bonding experience,” junior center Coby Pineda said. “We have a great team coming in and I believe everyone coming back next year will pull together. Our goal for the offseason is to get stronger through weightlifting and have a higher football IQ on the field.”
Arellano tallied up 124 passing yards for the Tigers with 49 rushing yards also into account. Quirk racked up 49 receiving yards for the night with Ross at 24 receiving yards. Sornoso also totaled 22 receiving yards in the game. Bakhshi record seven tackles and three assisted tackles.
“Next season I think we’ll do just as well, if not better than this season,” Arellano said. “We have a strong team coming back and I just want to start getting back to work as fast as possible.”
The football team’s elimination marks the final CIF fall sport participant from South Pasadena, and marks the beginning for all of the winter sports seasons to begin.