The South Pasadena High School varsity football team showed last week that there are plenty of reasons to be optimistic about the 2021 season, despite the outcome of its season-opening contest.
The Tigers dropped a 37-20 decision on Aug. 20 to Los Angeles’ Lincoln High School — which also was playing its first game, and is also called the Tigers. Fans at the game would be excused if they did a double-take upon arriving at the field, as both squads sported a black-and orange color scheme. The similarity of uniforms notwithstanding, Lincoln had a little more bite than its counterpart.
But South Pasadena threw a scare into the hosts. Senior quarterback Noah Aragon completed 13 of 27 passes for 231 yards and a touchdown to lead the charge. Senior Grant Huntley caught six of those passes for 121 yards and a 65-yard touchdown. Classmate Jack Riffle made two receptions for 53 yards, sophomore Devon Robinson grabbed two passes for 20 yards and junior Nick Eshom had a catch for five yards.
Riffle led the ground attack, collecting 88 yards on 18 carries and scoring a touchdown. Aragon carried four times for 40 yards and a touchdown, and junior Quinn Stirling had a carry for five yards.
Meanwhile, head coach Jeff Chi must have liked what he saw in South Pasadena’s swarming defense.
Stirling and senior Alexander Gonzalez each made nine tackles, including five solo stops. Junior linebacker Matthew Takasugi continued the solid play he displayed during the spring campaign and made six tackles. Huntley displayed his prowess as an all-around player by making five tackles. Robinson, senior Jadon Castellon and junior Dylan Feak brought down four opponents apiece, and Aidan Kinney — also a junior — made three tackles.
Riffle, Sawyer Fox, Jason Hong, Dominic Rosenberg, Thomas Carter and Aidan Marrujo each made a pair of stops and Eshom, Richard Conti and Harrison Farley were credited with one tackle apiece.
South Pasadena showed a lot of potential during the 2020 season, which — because of the pandemic — was played in March and April of this year. The Tigers finished that abbreviated campaign with a record of 2-1, defeating La Cañada and Temple City. South Pasadena was edged by rival San Marino by a score of 22-20, the deciding points in the battle for the Crowley Cup coming on a Titan field goal with no time remaining.