PASADENA — The Hoover High and Pasadena football teams were two squads desperately looking for their first success in the Pacific League when they met Friday evening.
The winless Bulldogs entered the game after having given up an average of 30 points in two league losses to Crescenta Valley and Burbank. The Tornadoes hadn’t fared much better, surrendering 32 points in setbacks against defending champion Muir and Arcadia.
In the early going, it looked like Pasadena was the hungrier team, as it jumped out to a 27-point lead in the first half. Although Hoover came back to score 13 unanswered points of its own in the second quarter to make it a game, the Tornadoes weren’t able to fight their way back, falling to the host Bulldogs, 33-13.
“Winning a game is always the biggest motivation,” Hoover first-year Coach Matt Andersen said. “Whether you have 10 wins or no wins you always come out and try and win the game.
“I thought our guys came out motivated and ready to win, we just didn’t do the things that we could have done to win.”
Hoover (2-4, 0-3 in league) struggled to contain the Pasadena (1-5, 1-2) running game, as the Bulldogs scored all of their touchdowns on the ground. Leading the way was running back Jeremiah Jones, who carried the ball 21 times for 235 yards and two touchdowns – one for 54 yards and the other for 71 yards.
Backfield mate Elija Trejo also had a solid game with two touchdowns (one for 73 yards) in 21 carries and accounted for 118 yards on the ground.
“I thought our defense played a lot better in the second half,” Andersen said. “We held them to just six points, so that was an accomplishment for us.”
What ultimately hurt the Tornadoes was their inability to stop the Bulldogs in the first half. Missed tackles led to big runs by Pasadena, which took a 27-0 advantage with 5:32 remaining in the first half.
But Hoover fought back. Quarterback Se Jun Kim scored on a two-yard keeper up the middle to finally get the Tornadoes on the board with 2:10 left in the second quarter.
After a fumble recovery on the kickoff by Hoover’s Andres Perez, the Tornadoes were in business in short order. It took just one play for Kim to hit Perez on a 25-yard pass play with 1:52 left to cut the Pasadena lead to 27-13.
“Offensively, I liked how we moved the ball, we just didn’t capitalize on a lot of our opportunities,” Andersen said. “We missed some plays and some fourth downs and that really hurt us.”
Kim ended the evening completing 11 of 26 passes for 137 yards with one touchdown and one interception.
Hoover didn’t get much production on the ground after starter Vaughn Parawan went down with a knee injury in the first quarter. The team’s leading rusher was Kenneth Traquena, who had 13 carries for 45 yards.
The only points in the second half came on Pasadena’s first possession of the third quarter. Jones took a pitch, rambled to the outside and scampered for a 71-yard touchdown.
On Hoover’s first possession of the third, it drove deep into Pasadena territory. However, on a fourth and one from the 21, the Tornadoes were stopped for a two-yard loss, turning the ball over on downs to the Bulldogs.
The Tornadoes also got to the 26 in the fourth, but a Kim pass was intercepted.