If last week’s annual Orange and Black intrasquad scrimmage is any indication, South Pasadena High’s football team is ready to face some top opponents once the season gets underway next week.
“Overall, I liked what I saw, although we got some things to work on,” said South Pasadena second-year coach C.B. Richards, anxious to put his club up against its first nonleague oponent, Rosemead, on the road next Friday in the preseason opener.
What he sees is a team coming off an 8-3 third place finish in the Rio Hondo League, itching to follow this year’s motto “Next Step” by going deeper in the CIF playoffs this year. Last season, the Tigers, glad to be in the postseason for the first time since 2003, were rocked by Glendora 34-0 in the first round.
However, before then South Pasadena will be matched up against Mark Keppel and Ontario Christian Friday night in a home scrimmage beginning with the frosh-soph at 4:30 p.m. p.m., followed by the varsity at 5:30 p.m. “We’ll be tackling a different colored jersey for the first time this season and the kids are pretty excited about it.”
While overall he liked what he saw between his first team offense and first team defense during last Friday’s intrasquad action, “there are a few things we need to fix,” said Richards. “We’ve got some guys in new spots, and just need to get it together.”
He liked the play of highlytalented running back Jalen Ross, who scored two touchdowns the first two times he touched the ball behind a solid offensive line. “We have to get some of our other running backs ready for prime time,” said the coach. “But that’s part of the process as we’re tackling and hitting for the first time in a live situation.”
Following the Thursday scrimmage, the Tigers watched film on Friday to analyze team strength and weaknesses, before taking a break until Monday this week to resume practice. “The kids have been on the field a lot the past two weeks with a couple of double day practices tossed in, so we gave them a little time off,” explained Richards.
With a careful eye on last week’s scrimmage, Richards came away saying he’ll be leaning a little more on skill position players, trying to get them in top form before games that count in the standings. “We had a couple of dropped passes, so we need to work on that,” he said of his offense. “This is the first time we’ve gone full board and some guys were lined up in the wrong spots. It’s the technical stuff that’s bothering me. The physical stuff seems to be here, which is great.”
Great enough to hopefully put a lot of points on the board. “We’re going to score and play some good defense,” said Richards with confidence. “Along with some fun on special teams, and we should be all right.”