We know Muir always has athletes and John Hardy might be one of the best coaches in the Southeast Division. Burbank has several key players returning including James “Boobie” Williams. Crescenta Valley, especially with Brian Gadsby now back in the fold, could be the most explosive team in the league.
Burroughs is always physical and is big up front and Arcadia is looking to bounce back from a down campaign last year; Glendale seems to be a team on its way up. Hoover? Well you know…still Hoover but when it comes to the Pacific where does that leave Pasadena?
Above Arcadia? Above Burroughs? Sixth place? It’s hard to say but when you look at a team that was 1-9 last year (only win vs. Hoover) the arrow would seem to be pointing down. When a kid transfers to the Pasadena area he usually ends up a Mustang right? When you think football in Pasadena these days you think Muir. Pasadena? It’s just a basketball school correct?
But then, seemingly out of nowhere Jorge Reyna, yeah the same Jorge Reyna who quarterbacked Downey to a CIF Southeast Championship in 2012, transferred to Pasadena.
By all accounts it was simply a matter of Reyna moving into the area due to family needs. I mean, CIF probably didn’t even look twice at this one. Who would transfer from a school that is one year removed from a championship to a school that went 1-9 unless it was absolutely necessary? And of course Pasadena and second year head coach Doug Bledsoe welcomed him with open arms.
Does it make the Bulldogs title contenders? No. Does it make them a playoff team? Maybe not. But it does make things certainly interesting. Reyna not only brings a physical presence but a mental toughness as well. He not only can throw the ball (over 3500 yards the last two years) and run it (over 2000 yards the last two years) he brings a mental toughness as well. He also brings a leadership role that Pasadena seemed to be missing the last couple of years.
During a Thursday night scrimmage against Golden Valley, when Reyna wasn’t dropping back to fire a pass, he could be seen encouraging, teaching, praising, and at times even coaching teammates. At one point when a player was concerned about people yelling from the stands, Reyna draped an arm around him and told him, “Don’t worry about what’s going on up there. Worry about what’s going on down here. You’re all right!”
Reyna, who always seems to be having the time of his life on the football field, greeted me with a big smile. “I love it here. How could you not? Just look at that view,” he said pointing to the San Gabriel Mountains.
Does Reyna have enough around him? That’s the question the Bulldogs need answered. Several times Thursday night Reyna would find a seam and fling it to an open receiver only to have the ball pop out of the target’s hands and fall to the turf.
Pasadena does have some talent. Receiver Tyreek Adams, a star on the basketball hardwood, can make plays at wide receiver and a solid Elijah Trejo returns at running back. Jeremiah Jones and Xavier Hill are other skill players the Dogs are counting on. Pasadena has some size up front in Jordan Castro and Tim Minor.
But don’t plan a parade down Sierra Madre just yet. Pasadena may be hard pressed just to stay above .500 let alone make the playoffs. But if nothing else Reyna makes things interesting, raises a few eyebrows. He makes the Pasadena faithful say “Hmm, could we?”
“I like it. Hey, it’s a learning experience,” Reyna said.
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