By Bill Glazier
Photos by Henk Friezer
South Pasadena High evened its record to 1-1 on the young season after dropping a 24-14 decision to Santa Clarita Christian Friday night at home. The Cardinals improved to 2-0 with the win.
The Tigers had an impressive start, recovering a fumble near mid-field on Santa Clarita Christian’s first possession and taking just nine plays to go 61 yards for their first touchdown. Tigers’ quarterback Sydney Luna-Long carried the ball into the end zone from the one to make the score 7-0.
Backed up deep in their own territory, the Tigers gave up a safety when Dorian Torres was pulled down in the end zone with 1:43 left in the first quarter, making it 7-2 South Pas.
The Cardinals grabbed a 10-7 lead with 2:51 to go in the first half when quarterback Blake Kirshner hooked up with tight end Ethan Schwesinger on a 2-yard scoring pass, followed by a 2-point conversion.
South Pas regained the lead 14-10 with a solid 15-play, 76-yard drive in the third quarter, consuming 8:14 off the clock as Jackson Totleben went the final yard for the touchdown.
The Cardinals responded on their next possession, going out in front 16-14 on an 18-yard scoring pass over the middle from Kirshner to Caden Brenner, making it 16-14 with 1:15 left in the third quarter. The 2-point conversion was no good.
The Cardinals increased their lead to 24-14 at the 8:27 mark of the fourth quarter when Kirshner tossed a 64-yard touchdown pass to Brenner and punched in the 2-point conversion.
Long played only sparingly in the second half after suffering an injury to his hand. The Tigers’ QB applied ice to a sore thumb while sitting on the bench. Justin Huff stepped in to connect on three of his nine throws for 66 yards.
Totleben followed up last week’s three-touchdown effort with another strong performance, carrying the ball 23 times for 117 yards. Danny Rios was the Tigers’ top receiver, hauling in three on the night, including a big one for 41 yards late in the contest.
Chaz Anderson, the coach of Santa Clarita Christian, praised the effort of South Pasadena, saying the Tigers are “so well coached and have a lot of tough kids,” he said. “We look forward to playing them every year. This was really a big win for us because we know how well South Pas has played over the years. We found a way to win against a really good opponent.”
While the Cardinals were rejoicing over a second straight win, Tigers coach Jeff Chi was telling his team to learn from their mistakes. “The good thing about it is we have next week (against Duarte on the road) and the league season. That’s what you have to look forward to. Learn from this and think about what you could have done tonight for a better outcome. I just know we can play better. We just have to be more consistent.”