Santa Clarita Christian Cardinals won Friday night’s game against the South Pasadena Tigers 24-14 handing the Tigers their first loss of the season. Nevertheless, the game was a nail-biter with South Pasadena dominating on offense through the first three quarters.
“In watching the films afterwards, I have to say, honestly I was pleased” said Head Coach Jeff Chi, “If I didn’t know the score I would say ‘oh the Tigers must have won this game’ because our offense was very dominant on the line of scrimmage.”
Dominant indeed. Tigers came out strong in the first quarter with a powerful drive ending with a one yard keeper by quarterback Sidney Luna-Long. Tiger defense effectively held back the Cardinals throughout the first half, capitalizing on two major turnovers.
Little mistakes in the second half led to a momentum shift from which the Tigers didn’t recover. Luna-Long was injured just before halftime, giving Junior Justin Huff an opportunity to complete a touchdown drive early in the third quarter. Senior runningback Gavin Chi had significant gains which Jackson Totleben completed with a touchdown run into the endzone.
Spirits soon turned when the Cardinals had an effective touchdown drive giving them a 17-14 lead. The Cardinals offense was strong in the second half allowing their quarterback, Blake Kirshner, to hit on all cyclinders in his passing game.
Hope was still alive until Kirshner connected with receiver Caden Brenner for a 60-yard touchdown pass leaving the Tigers at a tough to come back from score of 24-14.
Coach Chi reflected, “Coming off of a loss is not a good feeling but it’s part of the game; it happens. Our running game was productive but it was just a matter of the turnovers and not taking advantage of the opportunities given. Little mistakes cost us.” Chi went on to say, “Often it comes down to who makes the least amount of mistakes. Because mistakes will be made, so it’s a question of who makes the play and who doesn’t.”
On how they move forward, Chi says, “they are a young team and they are learning how to deal with tough situations, how to bounce back, because you only have 48 minutes. Luckily it happened early in the season and not later in league.”
“As a coaching staff, we tell the guys to watch themselves on the films, evaluate themselves on what they need to improve on,” says Chi, “we, as coaches, have to look at everyone, make sure they’re in the right position. We have 33 guys that we want to make sure we’re using everyone’s talent and abilities. The bottom line is improvement every week; we just gotta get better so that you improve from game 1 to the last game.”
South Pasadena Tigers face the Duarte Falcons at Duarte next Friday, September 8, 7pm