In late November, Tribune Staff Photographer and San Marino resident Scott Daves traveled to New Haven, Connecticut to watch and shoot the final game of J.P. Shohfi’s outstanding football career at Yale University. Scott and J.P. sat down before and after the Bulldogs’ incredible 50-43 win over Harvard,” during which J.P. promised Daves “a show.” He got one…
Daves has shot San Marino football for several years, including the magical 2015 season when San Marino won the Rio Hondo League, CIF and California Southern Region championships before losing the State title game and Shohfi was one of the squad’s many stars. J.P. chose to attend Yale and last year was voted by his teammates to serve as captain, an honor that is given to only one player per year. Daves used his influential San Marino Tribune press pass to gain sideline access and on several occasions was seen standing right next to Bulldog Coach Tony Reno on ESPN’s coverage of what is known in college football circles simply as “The Game.” And what a game it was, as Yale battled back from a huge first-half deficit of 22-3 to tie the game on a touchdown pass on the final play from scrimmage (a touchdown pass that Shohfi caught and wedged into the end zone) that sent the game into overtime. Shohfi made another key reception in the second overtime that led directly to the winning score and a 50-43 win for the Bulldogs.
The game made headlines around the world as the result of a halftime demonstration by students from both schools, who plopped down at midfield to protest climate change, calling for both universities to divest their financial interests in fossil fuel companies.
“The protest grew from about 100 students to over 500 students and some parents and lasted for almost an hour, delaying the second half from starting,” Daves said. “Eventually police officers were dispatched onto the field, pleading with the protesters. The chancellors from both schools tried to resolve the situation and resume the game. Some of the protestors wanted to get arrested so they could post it on social media. The officers obliged the protestors and the game went on.”
The resulting 48-minute delay resulted in further drama—not that any more was needed—as the fact that the Yale Bowl has no secondary source of lighting quickly became a matter of importance. Daves even mentioned the darkness on a call during his drive from New Haven, Connecticut to New York’s LaGuardia Airport after the game.
“It was getting really dark,” Daves said. “They could not have played much longer. At all. I asked the head referee during a time out if they would call off the game. He said if it gets too dark, he would have no choice but to call the game and the score would stand at the time of the interruption. That would mean Harvard would win, as they were ahead.”
Daves had caught up with Shohfi on the field after the game.
“Yeah it was surreal, but we were ready to go till tomorrow,” said J.P., who caught 10 passes for 103 yard and the game-tying touchdown as the Bulldogs finished their season with a 9-1 record. “It didn’t matter the time of the day. We were ready to go again and again and again.”
But play they did and make plays J.P. did, which came as a surprise to absolutely nobody who has watched him rise to the occasion time and time again, dating all the way back to the founding Sunday afternoons of the San Marino Community Athletics Association.
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