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.
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.
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.”