Capping negotiations that have taken place for several weeks, it was announced last week that Pasadena Polytechnic School’s varsity football team will compete in the Rio Hondo League for the 2020 season.

The Panthers will join South Pasadena, Monrovia, La Cañada, San Marino and Temple City in offering the first six-team docket since Blair folded its squad during the 2016 campaign.

The arrangement, which has been agreed to by administrators from all six schools, is for one year only. Poly has previously competed in the Prep League, which fielded only three teams in 11-man football for the 2019 season. Poly already had three Rio Hondo League teams on its 2020 football schedule when the new alignment was approved.

The addition of Poly will ensure that three Rio Hondo teams will receive automatic playoff bids in the upcoming football season, according to CIF policy. In the four years Blair did not field a team, the league received two postseason spots, with other teams able to apply for at-large qualification. 

“It gives us more of an opportunity to have a playoff run, that’s the biggest thing — it gives us one more playoff spot,’’ said South Pas Athletic Director Anthony Chan.

It’s also, Chan said, “a good game — they’re local, they’re competitive, and they’re our neighbors. I enjoy the crowd for those games.’’

South Pas beat Poly 34-20 on Oct. 4, at Poly. The Tigers did earn an at-large playoff berth.

Because the Prep League had been reduced to three teams, only the league champion received an automatic playoff bid, further hastening Poly’s defection.

Blair will continue to compete in the Rio Hondo League in other sports, and has told fellow athletic directors it plans to return to varsity football competition in 2021, according to San Marino AD David Irie.

Mitch Lehman
Author

With over 22 years in publishing and a long time local, Mitch Lehman is a frequent contributor to the South Pasadena Review and Quarterly magazine. He has received two independent Pulitzer Prize nominations and in 2016, Mitch won 5 awards in the California Newspaper Publishers Association's Better Newspapers Contest.

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