It may have been a loss on the scoreboard, but Jordan Bounyaseng put a positive spin on it, talking about South Pasadena High’s only points in a 52-7 setback to powerful Arroyo Friday night.
Bounyaseng had a major role in the road game, hauling in a 24-yard scoring pass from Tigers’ quarterback Samuel Luna-Long, whose perfect throw fell neatly into the hands of the senior receiver as the clock counted down to the 7:39 mark of the game.
A beaming Bounyaseng looked like a player holding a 46-point advantage after making the catch, but he wasn’t. Despite the lopsided loss, Bounyaseng was glad to be on the receiving end of the play and help his team from being shutout by an Arroyo team that improved to 3-1 with the victory, while the Tigers evened their mark at 2-2 on the season.
“It was a great throw by our quarterback,” described Bounyaseng of Luna-Long’s pass down the left side. “The quarterback gave me the best pass I could have had. After the catch, I knew I had one person to beat. I juked him, and took it in.”
Quentin Pithey capped off the score by booting the ball through the uprights for the PAT. After the Knights scored the first 52 points of the game, South Pasadena tallied the final seven, providing some sort of redemption in an otherwise lopsided affair.
Luna-Long described the play as “a pretty good moment,” talking about Bounyaseng’s catch. “But overall it was a disappointing game.”
Where do the Tigers go from here? Perhaps, as far away from El Monte as they can. The Tigers had hardly cleared their heads after a 59-6 beating from El Monte two weeks ago to come back for more last Friday night as Arroyo climbed out to a 28-0 lead after the first quarter, 38-0 at the half and 52-0 going into the fourth quarter.
By then it was time for a CIF ruling to come into play – to run the fourth quarter clock without interruption and allow the trailing opponent to walk out of the stadium with its pride intact. No team likes a running clock, but Arroyo coach Jim Singister knows there’s pride at stake for the team on the losing end.
He also knows what it’s like to be on the losing end of a lopsided encounter, remembering Arroyo’s 55-0 defeat to La Habra one season. “We didn’t need to rub their nose in it,” said Singiser, who took his foot off the pedal in the second half against South Pasadena by giving many of his junior varsity players a chance to play. “South Pas did a good job. They’re young and just figuring it out. There was no need to pour it on. Those kids over there practice hard like us. They are in the film room, weight room, doing the same stuff. No need to make it any tougher on them.”
Singiser started substituting at the outset of the third period. “We had our starting offensive line in there, but everyone else was a JV guy,” he explained, noting that his junior varsity and varsity practice together in preparation for games. “JV programs are starting to fold a lot, so it was great that they had a chance to show what they’ve got under the lights of a Friday night. We got our young kids some reps and there was no reason to show them up.”
Doing some quick math, South Pasadena was outscored 111 to 13 in its two losses to El Monte schools this year.
The Tigers limped out of Arroyo’s stadium Friday after the offense sputtered most of the night, picking up only four first downs and giving way to the punt after going three and out most of the night.
South Pasadena High coach Jeff Chi is hopeful the situation will improve if at least eight injured players can return to action before it gets any worse. “It wasn’t pretty,” he said. “It’s two straight games here that we were pretty sloppy. We’ve got a lot of guys banged up and hurt. It has been tough to fill a team when a lot of our guys beat up. We’re going to try to get most of them healthy in time for Alhambra.”
The Tigers are home Friday at 7 p.m. to face the Moors, which is fielding one of its strongest teams in years after suffering a downswing in recent years. Alhambra, a Tigers’ traditional nonleague opponent, comes to town with a 4-0 record. Following that contest, South Pasadena faces another tough foe in Eagle Rock, also 4-0 on the year.
“We’re just trying to make it through the next two weeks, then regroup,” explained Chi, recognizing the Rio Hondo League season kicks on September 28 at San Marino, a 3-1 team coming off a 63-7 win Friday over Santa Fe.
For now, however, the Tigers are still licking their wounds from the defeat against Arroyo, but desperately looking for a way to turn it around and start winning again. Before South Pasadena took the field against Arroyo, Chi knew his club was going up against a tough nonleague team, showing a lot of class in the end.
“I appreciated it,” said the Tigers’ coach, knowing that Arroyo coaches eased up and didn’t purposely run up the score.
That said, Chi and his depleted roster will continue to prepare for Alhambra in week five Friday night. “We just have to get our guys healthy and get going again,” said the Tigers’ coach.