By Kevin Park
The South Pasadena football team’s season last year included a videotaping incident accusing former football coach Martin Konrad of cheating, a disqualification from CIF playoffs, and a sudden resignation from their head coach, which leads to the question: can the Tigers leave all their troubles behind and follow up with another season as a contender in the Rio Hondo league?
The Tigers were one game away last season from landing a CIF berth, but unfortunately, despite winning the clinching game, were immediately disqualified due to the alleged videotaping of the opposing team’s practices. This has shown to be a great deal of drive for the team as a whole, revealing its dedication. The team has practice at 5:00 p.m. every day on weekdays as well as 6:15 a.m. practices every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.
“The way we respond to last year is to make sure we keep our head and minds right. We know what it takes to be a playoff team and want to bring this program back up again. It’s only fueled the tank for our upcoming season,” quarterback senior Michael Partida said.
Before the summer, it was announced that C.B. Richards, also the SPHS track coach, would replace the newly resigned Konrad. It will be interesting to observe the types of moves he will make in order to mold this team back into a competitor.
Another key instrument to this team will be whether the players can stay healthy. With running back senior Jason Takarabe returning from a persisting back injury, wide receiver/corner back senior Max Garcia back from a sprained ankle, and kicker junior Robert Amaral’s hip flexor newly recovered, the Tigers hope to stay clean throughout the season. South Pas will need the full squad in order to compete because each and every player is such a significant component to this year’s team.
Just like every other team, the Tigers lost a couple of crucial players, some who graduated, and others who transferred. But the camaraderie continues, the effort is put in, and the chemistry will grow.
“We are growing as a team because we’ve all gotten closer with each other,” Amaral said. “Great friendships lead to brotherhood and with great brotherhood comes nothing but protection on that field.”
As the 2015-2016 season slowly arrives, South Pasadena hopes to witness the Tigers surmount their past struggles and continue their strong play from last year with an appearance in this year’s CIF playoffs.
“This year means the world to me and my teammates. We really want to show everyone that last year was a fluke,” Partida said. “This team isn’t going to give up anytime ever. We go 100% every practice because this brotherhood wants to prove that we belong in CIF.”