By Alex A. Gonzalez
South Pasadena— The 68th annual meeting between the South Pasadena Tigers and the San Marino Titans took place Friday night, and for the second consecutive year, the Titans retained the Crowley Cup thanks to Coleman Morning’s interception with 1:52 remaining in the fourth quarter, sealing their 10-7 win at South Pasadena High School.
“I can’t thank the team anymore. Two weeks and a bye, we came out every day and worked our butts off in practice, which is the result of hard work,” said Morning after the game.
Both squads wanted to establish their presence, with the matchup between the two being their Rio Hondo League opener. However, setting any momentum took a lot of work. The two schools had one possession each in the first quarter, and as a result, the Titans were the first to put points on the board after freshman kicker Nick Acuna capped a 12-play drive when his 41-yard field goal went through the uprights with 2:27 left in the first quarter.
The three points were all that was needed for San Marino as they maintained that lead throughout the second quarter heading into halftime. Their defense also shut down the Tigers’ offense and did not allow running back Jason Hong to run freely.
After the break, the Tigers took control of the ball game when defensive back Luke Riffle picked Morning’s pass on their first possession of the third quarter. The turnover led to Hong scoring the game’s first touchdown six plays later when he powered his way into the end zone with 5:50 remaining in the third quarter.
Nonetheless, the 7-3 lead for South Pasadena did not last long as San Marino was able to answer back on their ensuing possession when Julian Solis scored the game’s go-ahead touchdown from 11 yards out in the opening minutes of the final quarter.
“It was a team effort,” said Solis after the game. “My line did a lot, and Coleman is a dog running the ball up and down. And I was doing what I can.”
The Tigers then responded on their next possession by moving down the field into Titan territory. But on a fourth and one at the 38-yard line, the Tigers handed the ball to Hong, who was immediately met by a wall of San Marino defenders and was stuffed two yards back from a first down midway through the fourth quarter.
South Pas had one more opportunity to take the lead with less than two minutes to play when Riffle picked off Morning for the second time.
That opportunity lasted only one play after Morning was able to make up the interception he threw on the previous play when he picked off Zachary Lee’s pass with 1:57 remaining in the game.
Three plays and a first down later, the Titans ended the game in victory formation, and for the second consecutive year, San Marino keeps the Crowley Cup in their possession.
“So two years ago, we were back here and lost on a last-minute score. I was thinking about that and this game, and I just wanted it back. And I wanted that trophy back at our home,” commented Morning postgame.
Dating back to 1920 and up until 1955, San Marino and South Pasadena students shared the same high school. Then, when the Titans formed in 1955, the battle for the Crowley Cup began.
With the win, the Titans ended the Tigers’ five-game winning streak and started Rio Hondo League play 1-0. They will look to stay perfect as they host La Canada next Friday night. As for the Tigers they will try to even their record at 1-1 when they travel to Monrovia next Friday night.