Here’s all you need to know about last Friday night’s game between the South Pas varsity football Tigers and the Rio Hondo League-leading Monrovia Wildcats:
By the start of the third quarter, they had already invoked the mercy rule, with the Tigers trailing 42-0 in a game they would eventually lose 49-7.
Coming off a disheartening loss a week earlier to San Marino, the visiting Tigers were thoroughly dominated in their second league game of the season — dropping to 0-2 in Rio Hondo play and 5-3 overall.
“They (the Wildcats) are a pretty good team, as you saw,’’ Tiger coach Jeff Chi said afterward, winning the night’s award for understatement.
Usually, the mercy rule kicks in at the start of the fourth quarter of a game where there’s a 35-point difference on the scoreboard, unless both coaches agree to invoke the rule earlier — and that was the case Friday night.
For the whole second half there was a running clock, with none of the usual pauses for first downs, out-of-bounds and such — giving the Tigers their quickest possible exit from Monrovia’s Wildcat Stadium and the chance to begin looking ahead to this week’s matchup at Temple City.
The Tigers trailed 14-0 after the first quarter, but Monrovia broke open the game in the second, scoring 28 points.
The Wildcats — coming off wins of 48-7 over Temple City, 35-0 over San Marino and 33-7 over Arroyo — again showed off their high-powered offense, improving to 8-1 overall and 3-1 in the league.
South Pasadena, after a 3-0 start, has now dropped two in a row and three of its last five, including the previous Friday’s 10-7 stumble against rival San Marino.
Chi had called that loss to San Marino “a huge letdown” following an elating victory the week before over Polytechnic of Pasadena.
He knew the Monrovia game was “going to be tough” … and was it ever.
The Tigers’ defense was their biggest problem, as it gave up big plays on the ground and in the air all game long.
South Pas surrendered an 81-yard touchdown pass in the first quarter to go down 14-0. Then the Tigers gave up four TDs in the second quarter on a 25-yard run, a 1-yard run, a 60-yard pass and a 30-yard pass.
Six of the seven touchdowns scored by the Wildcats came off of empty drives by a Tiger offense that punted five times, fumbled twice and came up short on a fourth-and-three to turn it over on downs.
Senior quarterback Samuel Luna-Long said the Tigers did what they could to do to prepare for this game — it just went sideways fast.
“We had a pretty good week of practice,’’ Luna-Long said. “We made the adjustments and changed our offense a little bit. We got into the game and they were making switches throughout. They adjusted to our new offense. There’s nothing we could have done.’’
Chi, meanwhile, said, “There are certain teams that are just above your level and you have to do everything right to have a chance to beat them. We just didn’t come close tonight.’’
“We just have to forget about it and move on to the next two games — that really matters for us and our playoff possibilities,’’ the coach added.
Chi will have senior star linebacker/fullback Quentin Pithey available for this Friday’s Temple City game, even though Pithey was ejected in the second quarter, along with a Monrovia player, following a scuffle on a kickoff.
Ejections mandate a one-game suspension — but officials reconsidered Pithey’s after the game, allowing only the Monrovia ejection to stand, South Pas Athletic Director Anthony Chan said. Several players scuffled on the play in question and, Chan said, officials “picked his (Pithey’s) name” because they felt they had to eject somebody from the South Pas side.
Chi, meanwhile, was already putting this rough night behind him.
“We have to have a short-term memory of this game, let it go and move on,’’ he said. “We have to refocus on what’s important and what’s ahead of us. We can’t dwell on this loss and have pity for ourselves. We just have to go forward with high energy and refocusing.”
Additional reporting by Ahmad M. Akkaoui