The frosh/soph Tiger football team is ready to play its first opponent as it tries to match last year’s undefeated season. The team, coached by Edward Smith, went 10-0 and is using that record as a benchmark for this year’s schedule. Photo by Henk Friezer

If last season is a benchmark of excellence, then the South Pasadena High School freshmen/sophomore football team has a high standard to reach.

Last year’s team, entirely comprised of ninth and 10th graders and known as the frosh/soph team, went undefeated. That’s right, they went 10-0.

“We weren’t expecting to be 10 and 0 but the kids really worked hard,” said Head Coach Edward Smith. “The games at this level are about preparation. We are trying to get them ready for the next level, for varsity. But last year’s team was good.”

Although many of the players on that undefeated team are no longer in school or available to play this year, 10 are returning to play.

“We have 10 freshmen from last year returning this year and the thing is, the guys that are coming back have some experience to play at this level,” said Smith, who has been coaching Tiger football in one capacity or another since 1979. “I’m expecting a lot out of these guys and some of them will go both ways and we’ll build around those guys like we did last year.”

Football at this level is to prepare you for varsity play, but also to prepare you for life. Photo by Steve Whitmore

Smith, who was the Tiger varsity football coach for 16 years, acknowledged that it’s hard to gauge the talent of the team at this juncture.

“You can’t tell,” Smith said. “We have not had a scrimmage yet. You don’t know how the kids are going to react to live-hitting firsthand. So, hopefully, we will be able to prepare them over the next couple of days and get them ready for Mountain View.”

Although Smith is not sure of his team’s abilities, he suspects his running attack will be solid with an added dimension.

“We have some decent runners,” he said. “We will probably concentrate on the running game, but we also have a couple of freshmen who seem to be pretty good at catching the ball. We will see how it goes.”

Looking down the road, past the first game, Smith has altered his perception a bit as to what constitutes a successful season. He used to judge his success by wins and losses. He doesn’t do that anymore. He looks at the players to see if they are learning how to play the game of football.

Head Coach Edward Smith Photo by Steve Whitmore

“I know people think of wins and losses but at this level here what I try do is just prepare them on how to play football,” Smith said. “So, if they can improve football-wise that’s a success for us.”

Moreover, Smith wants his players to learn how to play the game as a member of a team that can lead to a better life.

“We try to make sure the kids are prepared to do certain things, like be on time, be responsible for what you do and be responsible to others. That’s what we try to instill in our guys. Now, if we win games. That’s a bonus for us.”

Well, if this year is anything like last year, it will be full of bonuses.

Frosh/Soph Football Roster

1 Jonathan Choi TE,DE   So.  5-10  150

4 Devin Pearson WR, DB    Fr. 5-8   150

6 Jonathan Stride WR, DB  So. 5-4  110

7 Michael Ebner QB, TE  Fr. 6-1 180

8 Grant Huntley QB, DB Fr. 5-10 145

11 Josh Cruzata RB, LB   So. 5-8 175

15 Damien Romo RB, LB. So. 5-8 130

18 Zach Lukevsky WR, DB So. 5-6 120

22 Adrian Portillo WR, DB Fr. 5-7 115

48 Valentino Nguyen RB, LB So. 5-7 150

50 Noah Perez Ol, DL So. 5-8 135

55 Andrew Buenrostro OL, DL Fr. 5-11 175

56 Joey Duarte Ol, DL, So. 5-5 165

62 Jaden Castellon OL, DL Fr. 5-3 135

64 Noah Leider Ol, DL Fr. 6-2 215

68 Morgan Seche OL, DL Fr. 5-4 165

70 Joseph Hutchinson OL, DE So. 6-0 215

71 Luciano Tyler OL, DL Fr. 6-1 200

80 Terence Sweetman WR, DB So. 5-5 115

81 Owen Quimiro TE, LB So. 5-7 135

Bo Donlevy WR LB Fr.

Brian Zepada So. 5-6 145

Jack Riffle WR, LB Fr.

Joseph Carpentier OL, DL Fr.

London Ely RB, DB Fr.

Luca Berk Wr, DB Fr.

Patrick Cruz RB, LB Fr. 5-6 145

Yahya Abdur-Rahim FB, DL Fr. 5-8 200

Staff

Edward Smith, Head Coach

Jason Barnes, Assistant Coach

John Fonseca, Assistant Coach

Kevin Pearson, Assistant Coach

Frosh/Soph Football Game Schedule

Thursday, August 16  @ Mountain View

Thursday, August 23  El Monte

Thursday, August 30  @ Eastside

Thursday, September 6  @ Arroyo

Thursday, September 13  Alhambra

Thursday, September 20  @ Eagle Rock

Thursday, September 27  @ San Marino

Thursday, October 4 Monrovia

Thursday, October 11 Temple City

Thursday, October 25 @ La Cañada

Steve Whitmore
Author

Steve Whitmore is the editor for the South Pasadena Review. Steve has spent more than four decades as an award-winning print and broadcast journalist with a 16-year stint as the senior media advisor for the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department. Steve comes to us from the Keene Sentinel in Keene, New Hampshire, where he covered politics and was a columnist.

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