GLENDALE — On an evening in which the flickering bulbs of the scoreboard above Moyse Field were dimmed in comparison to flashing lights of an ambulance, a victory was put in perspective for the Glendale High football team.
With 2:23 left in Friday night’s contest, Glendale was awarded a 23-7 nonleague victory over visiting South Pasadena High when the contest was called due to an injury.
South Pasadena defensive back Jeremy Gabler was hit on a tackle attempt of Glendale’s Luis Ruiz near the Tigers sideline and remained motionless on the field for nearly 15 minutes, until an ambulance carted off the freshman to a nearby Glendale hospital.
“It appears to be a neck thing and not a concussion, but I’m not a doctor and don’t know for sure,” said Tigers Coach Marty Konrad, a former Flintridge Prep coach. “All this is precautionary and we’re just going to see what’s next. It looks like it was a helmet-to-helmet hit.”
The victory improved the Nitros’ record to 2-1, which marks the latest point Glendale has owned a winning record since the final week of the 2008 season.
Prior to the injury, the Nitros owned the second-half storyline, having outscored the Tigers, 16-0, while shinning on offense and defense.
Maybe no individual player made as big an impact as did Nitros two-way player Daniel Jung.
The junior rushed 19 times for 115 yards and a touchdown, while coming up with two second-half turnovers.
With the Nitros leading, 13-7, Jung intercepted a pass from Tigers quarterback Michael Partida with 3:47 left in the third quarter at the Tigers’ 40 and raced toward the end zone before being stopped at the 12.
While Glendale went three and out on the following offensive series, senior kicker Martin Marin nailed a 25-yard field goal to put the Nitros up two possessions, 16-7, with 2:15 remaining in the contest.
“We had a slow first half, but we picked it up in the second half,” Jung said. “This is a big win for us because we made plays.”
South Pasadena took over at its 20 on the next possession, but was turned away on a third and five at Tigers’ 48 with 9:20 left in the fourth quarter thanks to a sack from Ricardo Herrera of Partida.
The tackle for a loss forced a punt as Glendale went back to work.
This time, instead of being methodical, the Nitros moved from their 29 to the South Pasadena 3 on five plays, the last being a 53-yard scamper from Ruiz (10 carries for 101 yards). On the very next play, Jung punched in a three-yard score to put the Nitros up, 23-7, with 6:48 left in the game.
Jung wasn’t done, however, as he recovered a fumble with 3:56 left in the game after teammate Sam Peplow forced a strip of running back Heven Gomez.
Three plays later, the game was called because of Gabler’s injury.
“We made plays on defense and, most importantly, we made tackles tonight. That’s the difference and that’s what we did this week that we didn’t do last week,” Nitros Coach John Tuttle said. “Right now, though, our thoughts are with South Pasadena.”
Glendale opened the second half with a 13-play, 80-yard drive capped by a one-yard keeper from quarterback Kevin Felix (nine for 14 for 91 yards with one touchdown and one interception) which, after a missed extra point, gave the Nitros the lead for good at 13-7 with 5:27 left in the third.
South Pasadena scored the game’s first touchdown with 2:05 left in the second quarter on a two-yard run from Matthew Ayala.
Glendale answered right back with its lone touchdown in the first half came on a 27-yard lob from Felix to wide receiver Ricky Loudermill (five catches for 73 yards).
“I had to make that catch after dropping one earlier,” Loudermill said. “It’s a great win, but we’re thinking about the South Pasadena player.”