There’s a quiet winning streak happening in South Pasadena frosh/soph football that’s entering its third year, and it’s beginning to draw some attention.
“It’s pretty awesome,” said Greg Luna, So Pas athletic director. “It’s three years running and it’s remarkable.”
The last time the frosh/soph team – once known as junior varsity – lost a football game was the second to the last game of the 2016 season, according to Head Coach Ed Smith, who is receiving much of the credit for the squad’s continued success. Smith, who used to be the varsity head coach for 16 years, came out of retirement in 2015 to take over the JV squad. It only took about nine games in 2016 to turn the program around.
Also, the school decided to allow sophomores to play on the squad in 2016. The other JV teams in the league have always had freshman and sophomores and sometimes even juniors. The South Pasadena Tigers only play freshman and sophomores.
They are undefeated over the last 16 games. They went undefeated last season, 10-0, are undefeated this season so far, 5-0, and they won their last game of the 2016 season.
Smith doesn’t put much stock in the winning streak, except to say “We have a good bunch of guys,” he said. “They play hard and practice hard.”
Smith primarily sticks to a run offense with some screens and flare passes sprinkled in but a ground game limits the mistakes.
“Ed is old-school football,” Luna said. “He teaches fundamentals and they are a solid team. This year, the games are pretty even in the first half but in the second half, we pull away because the run game wears the other teams down.”
Smith, meanwhile, stresses preparation. He says at this level it’s all about preparation.
“We try to make sure the kids are prepared to do certain things, like be on time, be responsible for what they do and be responsible to others,” Smith said in an earlier interview. “That’s what we try to instill in our guys. Now, if we win games that’s a bonus for us.”
Luna believes the frosh-soph squad is going to go undefeated again this year.
“There’s no reason these guys can’t run the table again this year,” Luna said. “This is a strong team. Ed is great coach. He’s really a teddy bear but he gets his guys ready each week.”