It’s a huge test, perhaps the biggest of the season.
Minutes following South Pasadena High’s lopsided 41-0 win over Bassett at home last Friday, Tigers’ coach Jeff Chi started talking about his club’s next opponent.
“It’s going to be a tough game,” he told his team, down on one knee in front of him following South Pasadena’s fourth win of the season. Pasadena Poly, with an identical 4-1 record, comes into Roosevelt Field Friday for a 3 p.m. kickoff due to a lack of officials for night games.
Following the Tigers’ decisive non-league win over Bassett last week Chi declared Saturday a day off, saying his team deserved some time away from the usual 8:30 a.m. film session and light training in order to get some rest in anticipation to face a strong Panthers team.
“We need you guys to be mentally and physically ready to go,” urged Chi to his team during his postgame remarks. “It’s a huge game. It’s a good one to get in just before league starts.”
Jason Barnes, South Pasadena High’s offensive coordinator, said Friday’s game will be “another test to see where we are. We’re beating teams we’re supposed to and we have to play tough in this next one. It’s going to be a good game. They (Pasadena Poly) are a team that doesn’t make too many mistakes. You got to be smart out there.”
His message, like Chi’s, was for the Tigers to “get some rest, get healthy over last weekend and “Let’s go hard” in practices gearing up for the Panthers. “It’s a big week.”
South Pasadena comes into the game with victories over Mountain View (53-13), Viewpoint (21-17), Eastside (13-6) and Basset (41-0), losing only to Alhambra 35-21, a game the Tigers struggled with penalties and had their chances to score but were ultimately turned back by the CIF Division 13 No. 1 team.
If the season continues to go in a positive direction for the Tigers, Chi knows there’s a chance South Pasadena just might see the Moors again in the postseason.
In the meantime, he’s hoping his club will take care of business Friday against Pasadena Poly and carry a highly successful non-league record into the Rio Hondo League opener October 11 against visiting San Marino, a team the Tigers haven’t beaten since 2010.
After playing their rival, South Pasadena is on the road for two games – Monrovia, October 18, and Temple City, October 25 – before returning home November 1 to face La Cañada in the regular season finale.
On the other side, Pasadena Poly has posted victories over Cathedral City (42-7), Rancho Christian (24-21), Campbell Hall (42-13), South El Monte (28-6) before dropping a 7-0 contest September 20 to California City (7-0).
“They will have had two weeks to prepare for us,” said Chi. “So, they are going to be rested. I just know we’re probably going to have to play our best game of the season to beat them. It’s a big test and I want our guys to have a really good game. We have to execute on offense and gang tackle on defense and hopefully our guys will have an overall good game.”