SOUTHEAST GLENDALE — With a pair of long kickoff returns for touchdowns on Friday night at Moyse Field, the Glendale High football team showed that its two top playmakers have speed to burn.
But, when it came time to put the brakes on South Pasadena’s methodical drives down the field in the second half, the Nitros simply ran out of gas.
In a game Glendale led by a point early in the third quarter and trailed by just one touchdown by the start of the fourth, the run-happy Tigers closed out the game with three unanswered touchdowns to win the nonleague battle, 49-21.
“It’s not a matter of being tired, we got pounded,” said Glendale Coach Alan Eberhart, whose team (1-2) gave up 475 rushing yards to South Pasadena, including 358 in the second half. “They run two plays, they run sweep and they run belly. They run two plays on film. They just execute it and they ran right by us. We’re a running team that can’t run and our defense just can’t stop the run.”
South Pasadena (2-1) had three backs with more than 100 yards rushing in Yihai Han (141 yards in 18 carries), Harvey Talento (117 yards in six carries) and Andrew Aviles (103 yards in 10 carries).
“We just buckled down and went back to the basics and challenged our guys to come out and do their jobs,” said Tigers Coach Marty Konrad, whose team jumped out to a 13-0 lead in the first quarter, only to stall out going into the halftime break, clinging to a 13-7 lead. “We had the momentum early, but you get five offensive penalties, that’s going to kill your drives. We challenged them at halftime to get their engines going and get refocused.”
Glendale receiver Mike Davis returned the second-half kickoff 94 yards for a touchdown and a 14-13 lead and running back Alex Yoon kept Glendale in the game with a 94-yard scoring return that made the score, 28-21, in favor of the Tigers with 11:43 left in the game.
“We can’t give up two kickoff returns for touchdowns, that’s ridiculous,” Konrad said.
But, while the runbacks energized the sideline and kept the game interesting, they didn’t do much for the Nitros’ defense, which stayed on the field for all but 1:40 of the third quarter, as Glendale ran just three plays from scrimmage.
“The kickoffs are nice, that’s great, but we can’t live on those,” Eberhart said.
South Pasadena began to pull away with a 70-yard touchdown run by Talento to cap a two-play drive and make the score 35-21 less than 20 seconds after Yoon’s big return.
Glendale ran just four more plays on its next drive before punting it back to the Tigers, who needed just three plays of their own to drive 54 yards and go up, 42-21, on a 49-yard run by Sean Magill, who finished with 71 rushing yards in seven carries.
South Pasadena, which scored its first touchdown of the second half on a 10-play, 81-yard march ending with an eight-yard Aviles run, capped the scoring with an eight-play 64-yard drive and 12-yard run by Gio Fata at the 5:08 mark of the fourth.
“They drive the length of the field, they eat up the clock and then we come in on offense and we have no answers,” said Eberhart, whose offense was led by 75 rushing yards and a touchdown from Yoon, but completed just five of 19 passing plays. “We’re not a throwing team and two weeks in a row we tried to throw it and we don’t make completions.”