Football loses momentum against Eagle Rock

By Alex Nakagawa

Staff Writer

Photos by Matthew Scholtz

Something was missing in the second half of the high school football game at Roosevelt, and it wasn’t just the lights on the scoreboard.

The South Pasadena High School Football team came up short in the season opener against the Eagles of Eagle Rock High School. The Tigers came out with a strong surge to score the first touchdown of the game, but could not contain the strong rushing game of the Eagle Rock backfield, eventually losing to a disciplined Eagles team 7-22.

The game started off in a stalemate, as neither team could power their way into the red zone. Junior Christian Carter was a force to be dealt with on the defensive end. Carter stopped Eagle Rock running back Michael Soracco Jr. behind the line of scrimmage to force a 4th and 13. Eight plays later, Carter intercepted a 3rd down play near the goal line to keep the game locked at 0-0 in the middle of the 1st quarter. The Tigers fumbled the ball on their own side, but a miscommunication with a handoff between the Eagle Rock running back and quarterback resulted in a junior Max Luck recovery.

As the game transitioned to the 2nd quarter, South Pasadena finally got into field goal range and sophomore Robert Amaral attempted a 35 yard field goal, which just missed the inside of the uprights. Despite this, senior Ernesto Jagueri kept the Tigers’ offense rolling with two great runs for 18 yards. Not phased by the deadlock, the Tigers pushed to the 10 yard line, where junior quarterback Michael Partida lobbed the ball up to Luck, who caught it right over the Eagle Rock linebacker to make it 7-0 right before halftime, marking the first touchdown of the year.

“It was a great play,” Luck said, “We need to keep our runs going for the whole game. We were flat straight from the beginning [of the second half].”

As the second half began, the Eagle Rock team shifted the momentum right from the start. Three plays into the 3rd quarter, a quarterback sneak play from the Eagles brought the game to 7-6, after running a 2-point conversion unsuccessfully. The Tigers were able to get a stop after having to punt. However, a miscommunication between sophomore QB Jalen Ross, who was in running an option offense, and senior Matthew Ayala led to another Tiger fumble, and the Eagles were able to capitalize off of the mistake with a 14 yard rush by Sonacco Jr., making it 7-14 after converting the 2-point conversion.

Hoping to regain some momentum, Ross made a great run down the left side of the field in the 4th quarter for a 46 yard gain. However, the Tigers turned the ball over again with another fumble, and Eagle Rock turned it into another touchdown and 2-point conversion with an 18 yard pass from Eagle Rock QB Mario Martinez Jr. The game ended in Eagle Rock’s favor 7-22.

Coach Marty Konrad expressed what the Tigers need to do to get ready for the Hoover game at Glendale High School on Friday.

“We need to be more disciplined during the game,” Coach Konrad said after the game. “We can’t be making great defensive stops, and then fumble the ball.“

Partida reflected on what they need to do during practice to make sure they do not make the same mistake next game.

“Our team needs to focus on the little things,” Partida said. “We were not in the right mindset, and we have to make sure that we play our game.”

The Tigers’ next game has been moved to Glendale H.S. on Friday against Hoover High School of Glendale at 7:00 p.m.