Sports

Titans Face Poly in Panthers’ Rio Hondo League Debut

First published in the Sept. 30 print issue of the San Marino Tribune.

Barring a postponement or cancellation — and these days both are more possible than previously thought — a few things are bound to happen when Pasadena Polytechnic and San Marino meet on the gridiron tomorrow night at South Pasadena High School.
The Panthers will have a Rio Hondo League contest under their belts, with one of the teams emerging 3-2 and the other 2-3.

Sophomore Nicholas Escamilla intercepted a pass during San Marino’s win over El Monte.

That’s because both teams are 2-2 heading into the tilt. Poly and San Marino have never faced off in football. The Panthers defeated Anaheim’s Savanna High School and Glendale High School, while suffering losses to Rio Hondo Prep and Campbell Hall. The Titans were 2-0 before consecutive defeats to Fillmore and San Gabriel.
San Marino has had a week to heal, literally, after taking its traditional bye before the start of the Rio Hondo League slate. Head coach Ray Torres said the much-needed respite allowed for his athletes to recover from their injuries while affording his young roster an opportunity to work on “basics and fundamentals.”
“We had a good week,” Torres said Tuesday morning. “It was nice not to be rushed for a change. We were able to work on a lot of things that we can’t always take the time to work on. That was huge. And on top of that, [we had time] to get healthy. That was another bonus.”
The Titans are still without all-Rio Hondo League two-way star Ryan Singhal, who suffered a season-ending knee injury at El Monte and has undergone surgery. Additionally, the team’s linebacker has a foot injury, but the senior plans on returning to the playing field before the end of the season.

Photos courtesy Raymond Quan Sophomore Coleman Morning has made a seamless transition from quarterback to wide receiver.

Torres had extra time to scout the Panthers, who will be playing their first Rio Hondo League game since joining the gathering in 2019. The entire schedule was wiped out by the pandemic a year ago, but the Panthers scrimmaged at South Pasadena in March, which was the team’s home away from home for almost two decades.

“They have some very good athletes and a large offensive line,” Torres said. “It’s going to be tough. They are a run-first kind of team, but they can also throw the ball. We used the week off to make some changes in our defensive alignment and have also changed up our personnel to adjust to their strengths. I am very confident in our defense.”
Torres acknowledged the leadership of seniors Michael Prappas and Andrew Hornberger during the off-week.
“Michael has been a great leader,” Torres said. “He has made it a point to make sure that everyone is in the right place at the right time.”

Now in his 25th year at The Tribune, Mitch Lehman is Editor and Sports Editor in addition to being the public address announcer for ten sports programs at San Marino High School. Mitch is one of only a handful in the community to receive the ‘Very Special Person Award’ from the San Marino PTA at the annual Founder’s Day ceremony, was acknowledged as a 'Terrific Titan' by the San Marino High School PTSA, was named an Honorary Paul Harris Fellow by the Rotary Club of San Marino and received a National Honorary Merit Badge in Journalism from the Boy Scouts of America. He has received two independent Pulitzer Prize nominations and in the past three years, Mitch has won seven awards and is a thirteen-time finalist in the California News Publishers Association's Better Newspapers Contest. In 2015, the press box at Titan Stadium was re-named 'Lehman's Loft' in his honor. You can reach Mitch at mitchlehman@sanmarinotribune.com.

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