By Ron Vrooman
(Alhambra) – The visiting South Pasadena Tigers capitalized on two third-quarter turnovers to break open a close game and defeat the Alhambra Moors, 29-14, on Friday night.
The Tigers, who improved their record to 5-0, ground their way to a 14-0 lead, scoring on a quarterback sneak and a 20-yard scramble by senior Richard Conti.
However, Alhambra received a gift when defensive end Emilio Reynoso recovered a fumble at the South Pasadena 17 shortly before halftime.
The Moors, who had gained only 47 yards from scrimmage before then, cut their deficit to 14-7 thanks to a 16-yard touchdown pass from Bryan Leonard to Joshua Soto with 1:23 left before the break.
But, a disastrous third quarter proved to be Alhambra’s undoing. A bad snap from center which was recovered by South Pasadena at the Moors’ 20-yard line led to an eight-yard scoring run by the Tigers’ Jason Hong. Then, on the first play after an interception thrown by Alhambra quarterback Bryan Leonard, Aidan Kinney ran 40 yards for a touchdown on an end-around to put the Tigers ahead, 29-7.
Alhambra didn’t score again until Erick Baray capped an 83-yard drive with a four-yard run late in the game.
In addition to his two touchdown runs, Conti completed eight of 13 passes for 89 yards to provide some balance to South Pasadena’s run-oriented offense. Hong, a junior running back, led the Tigers in rushing with 20 carries for 91 yards.
South Pasadena gained 269 yards from scrimmage, while Alhambra managed just 142 yards. The Moors’ offense was once again led by Leonard, who connected on 17 of 26 passes for 113 yards and a score, with two interceptions. Soto, a senior wide receiver, caught nine of those throws for a total of 79 yards.
The Moors saw their record fall to 2-3 after losing their final nonleague game of the 2022 season.