SOUTHEAST GLENDALE — A determined and hungry Pasadena High squad faced the Glendale football team Friday night in the Pacific League opener for both teams.
The Bulldogs entered league play after taking their lumps during nonleague competition. Along with dropping all three games, Pasadena was outscored by 80 points combined in the three games and its All-Area quarterback, Brandon Cox — who has committed to the University of Arizona — was sidelined after breaking a bone in his left foot.
But the Bulldogs looked like a rejuvenated squad against the Nitros. Pasadena used a slew of big-yardage running plays and took advantage of Glendale miscues to roll to a 35-0 victory over the Nitros at Moyse Field.
“We wanted to forget what happened before this league game and just want to concentrate on winning a league championship,” said Pasadena senior running back Torus Stepney, who had 16 carries for 121 yards and two touchdowns. “We worked real hard in practice this week because we wanted to come out and win the first league game.
“Now we can celebrate because we won a league game, and our first game.”
Glendale (1-3) played well at times against the Bulldogs (1-3), moving the ball on the ground. But turnovers and penalties proved to be the Nitros’ undoing.
“We had some opportunities, but we just couldn’t put it together overall,” Glendale Coach John Tuttle said. “But I thought our kids competed and they were out there giving it their best and they didn’t give up. We just made too many mistakes and that ended up hurting us.”
The Nitros had their best opportunity to score in the game in the final seconds of the fourth quarter. They began a drive at their own 35, and behind seven carries by running back Daniel Jung, worked the ball to the 4-yard line and had a first-and-goal situation. As time ticked away, Glendale powered the ball to the 1-yard line. With 12 seconds left, the Nitros were stopped at the 1, and time expired.
Other than that drive, the Nitros couldn’t mount many sustained possessions.
On the flip side, Pasadena chewed up yardage with huge running plays. On the night, the Bulldogs had rushes of 20, 34, 39, 39, 48 and 79 yards.
With Cox out, sophomore Caleb Devine made his first start at quarterback. Devine showed poise in running the Pasadena offense, leading the team on several sustained drives.
“I was really happy with the way our offense played tonight,” Pasadena Coach Randy Horton said. “I also thought Caleb did a great job for us. He’s come in and he has really learned from Brandon, who has helped him. It was nice to see Brandon here tonight, it motivated the kids.”
Cox, on crutches, watched the game from the sideline. Although he said it pained him not to be able to be in the game helping this team, he said he was impressed with Devine’s performance.
“I’m like a proud father watching his son play,” Cox said. “This was his first game starting, so I’m very proud of him.”
The Bulldogs took a 21-0 lead after two quarters on an eight-yard scoring run by Stepney in the first, a 39-yard touchdown scamper by the senior in the second and a one-yard score by Guillermo Hernandez with 1:59 left until halftime.
In the first half, Glendale had five possessions that resulted in four punts and a fumble. The Nitros gained just 63 yards of total offense over the course of the first two quarters compared to Pasadena’s 222.
The Bulldogs went up, 28-0, with 4:07 left in the third quarter after senior Kylon Fleming broke lose on a 79-yard scoring run. Fleming ended the night with 168 yards in six carries and a touchdown.
Pasadena capped the scoring with 6:55 left in the game on an eight-yard touchdown by Devine.
“I just thought we executed well in this game,” Horton said. “The whole offense just played well. They blocked well down field and we even had backup guys on the line. It was just a good win for us.”
Glendale, which was intercepted twice and lost one fumble, received 64 yards in 14 carries from senior running back Christian Osorio.