With a 5-1 record entering last Friday, the South Pasadena varsity football Tigers had the best start in head coach Jeff Chi’s three seasons — and their best chance to beat San Marino to end their Crowley Cup losing streak.
But that skid grew to nine straight years following the Tigers’ 10-7 home loss.
Despite some sluggish play, the Tigers actually had a chance to win the game after forcing the Titans to punt the ball away with less than four minutes to go in the game.
South Pasadena had the ball on its own 13-yard line. After a nine-yard run, the Tigers threw a screen pass for no gain on second down, rushed for half a yard on third down, and rushed for no gain on fourth.
Then the measurement sticks came in to see if South Pasadena had enough for a first down — but the Tigers came up short.
End of Cup dream for 2019.
Chi said his players simply didn’t play as well this game as they normally do.
“San Marino just came out with a great game plan and they knew who our main go-to guys were,” he said. “They really played it tight, and we just didn’t execute well enough to get that first down and keep it going for a possible win at the end.”
The Tigers had chances to capitalize on San Marino’s mistakes all game. The South Pasadena defense forced a turnover on downs, a fumble in the red zone, and two punts. San Marino also struggled with discipline – accumulating more than 10 penalties.
The Titans were a big threat in the air, and South Pasadena was unable to apply pressure on the quarterback or their top receiver.
The game was scoreless until a San Marino field goal with time expiring before halftime. The action was packed into the third quarter, with San Marino scoring a rushing touchdown with about eight minutes left in the quarter, and South Pasadena taking it down the field for a rushing touchdown with about three minutes left in the quarter.
The South Pasadena players were visibly disappointed in the outcome of the game, and the coaching staff told the players at midfield that this loss was going to teach them a necessary lesson before they face a tough league opponent on the road in Monrovia this Friday.
Chi said the loss will help the players develop character. They hope to look past the loss and prepare for a chance to get into the postseason.
“We really wanted to win tonight, obviously, but now that we didn’t, we’re looking at going after Temple City and La Cañada — hopefully getting two wins there — and Monrovia is going to be a tough one,” he said.
“But hopefully we can pull out a trick and go after them … Hopefully our kids will be disciplined enough to do what they’re supposed to do and give Monrovia some difficult situations to come out of. We have to hope for the best.”
Monrovia played on Friday night as well and beat Temple City 48-7.
This Friday’s game at Monrovia is scheduled for 7 p.m.