In overtime, The Spartans had the ball on the Tigers’ 13-yard line when Spartans senior quarterback Macky Plocher slung a ball to the back of the endzone, allowing Riffle to nab the interception, winning the game.
“I did not expect that play whatsoever,” Riffle said. “I got that pick. I’m so happy.”
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South Pasadena put up 293 yards, senior Jason Hong ran for 227 yards with four touchdowns, the fifth time this season he’s scored four or more times.
The Tigers moved to 8-1, winning seven of their nine games this year by double digits. The Spartans fell to 3-6, losing their third game in a row.
For South Pasadena, they’ve now won two in a row. Hong now has 33 rushing touchdowns this season and is one of the three best running backs in the state.
“We were going back and forth,” Hong said. “It was a real battle.”
At the end of the fourth quarter, the Tigers had control inside of the red zone with just 2:00 remaining. As time expired, Tigers quarterback Liam Ohannesian threw an interception, chucking a short pass into the Spartan endzone only for it to be picked off, sending the game into overtime.
With just seconds left, South Pasadena could’ve kicked a field goal to seal it. Instead, Ohannesian tried completing a pass as time ran out, opening the door for La Cañada.
“Defensively in the first half, we came out pretty strong,” South Pasadena head coach Jeff Chi said. “I think we let up a little bit. La Cañada did a hell of a job adjusting in the second half and took advantage of us right out of the gate.”
La Cañada’s first touchdown came in the second quarter, as Plocher rifled a ball into the endzone, to cut the lead to 14 with less than 0:05 remaining.
At halftime, South Pasadena led 21-7. La Cañada opened with a big drive, cutting the lead to seven with 10:51 remaining. The very next drive, La Cañada scored a bobbled pass between two South Pasadena defenders for a 61-yard touchdown, missing the extra point with less than 4:00 minutes to go in the third quarter.
Hong barreled into the end zone to start the fourth quarter, extending the Tigers lead to 27-20 with 10:39 remaining. La Cañada answered back, leveling the score at 27-27 with 9:47 to go.
Despite nearly slipping away, Chi was proud of the way his team responded to the pressure.
“I’m very proud of the way our guys hung in there throughout the whole game,” Chi said. “They never gave up, even in an overtime game. They just kept fighting and they believed in each other.”
Next week, the Tigers are at home, facing a Polytechnic team that’s lost three in a row.