The South Pasadena High School varsity football team closed out its abbreviated season with a 38-8 victory over visiting Temple City last Friday, but the result was of secondary importance to Tigers head coach Jeff Chi.
“It was a very short season, but we’re grateful and appreciative to get the opportunity to play, especially for the senior class.”
The school honored its 10 seniors for their hard work and dedication the past 3-4 years.
“I’ve seen them growing up since freshman year,” Chi said. “They showed a lot of maturity, character and class. I was very proud of the way they conducted themselves on the field.”
Chi was especially proud of his players toward the end of the game when they allowed a Temple City squad that was playing its first and only game of the year to score a touchdown. The score set up an opportunity for Rams coaches to put in a player with special needs, who ran the ball into the end zone for the two-point conversion.
“[Our players and coaches] all agreed that it’s more important than having a shutout,” Chi said. “It was great to see him celebrate, to see him high-five his teammates and then our team. That’s exciting and just memorable for everyone.”
The moment is one that will stick with the players and coaches, and it reminded Chi of a quote from SPHS Athletic Director Anthony Chan: “Life is not about football, but football is not life.”
“There are lessons [in football] and they will learn from it, such as hard work and being accountable for one another and working as a team,” Chi said. “I thought it was great.”
South Pasadena jumped out to an early lead, allowing the underclassmen to enter the field and give them valuable experience.
“We’re just excited for these young guys to develop and fill in the roles that the seniors will leave behind,” Chi said. “There’s so much potential there.”
The Tigers finished the season with a 2-1 record, including a season-opening victory over La Cañada and a loss against rival San Marino.