It doesn’t matter much to Ed Smith that his South Pasadena High frosh/soph team is on a tear, rolling past every opponent in its path and currently riding a 16-game winning streak going back three years.
It’s no big deal to the man who has been coaching football as and assistant and head coach for nearly 30 years.
“That sort of thing really is not that important to me,” said Smith, who guided the school’s varsity program at one point in his career for 16 years before taking over the frosh/soph head coaching duties in 2016. “I just want the kids to improve every game. That’s all that I’m looking for out of them. For me, it’s all about watching them get better. If we happen to win – great.”
Showing a little more enthusiasm for the string of victories was Greg Luna, South Pasadena High’s athletic director, who shared the news as he watched the varsity unit fall 29-14 last Friday night to visiting Alhambra.
“Heck yeah, it’s great,” said an upbeat Luna about the tidal wave of frosh/soph victories.
The team’s last defeat came in October 2016 when the Tigers fell to rival San Marino. That year, South Pasadena was 8-2 and followed it up with a perfect 10-0 mark in 2017. The Tigers head into Thursday’s home game against Eagle Rock with a 5-0 record. Action at Roosevelt field gets underway at 4 p.m.
In all the years as head coach of the Tigers’ varsity, Smith never won a Rio Hondo League championship, but recorded one second place for his best finish.
“The thing about winning titles is you have to have a combination of a lot of things,” Smith explained. “You have to have good players, things go your way and even a little luck.”
It never went quite his way at the varsity level to win it all, but it certainly is now with a group of hardworking, dedicated frosh/soph players willing to win. “They’re all working hard and seem to be learning a lot,” said Smith about his young charges.
The 8-2 mark two years ago brought a co-championship to South Pasadena and the Tigers won it outright in 2017. The Tigers appear to be headed for another one this season.
Smith also credits his coaching staff for putting South Pasadena in a position to win each week, noting he’s got one of the best in assistants John Fonseca, Jason Barnes, Paul Hugasisn and Kevin Pearson.
“Combined with some solid coaches and good players we should wind up having a good year,” said Smith, talking about the Tigers’ hopes of winning another frost /soph title.
“It feels good,” he added when asked about picking up one win after another. “It’s not going to be easy this week when we face Eagle Rock. They’re pretty good. We’ll stack our guys against them and see how it goes. Hopefully, we’ll come out with a victory”