First published in the Oct. 21 print issue of the San Marino Tribune.
The final score of San Marino High School’s varsity football game against Monrovia that was played last Friday night will be remembered for a long time — and even if it slips the mind, a Google search will suffice for quick recall.
And though the undefeated Wildcats (8-0 overall, 3-0 in Rio Hondo League) soundly defeated the host Titans, 63-13, here’s hoping that some of the lasting memories will transcend the mere numbers that ended up on the scoreboard at the end of the chilly night that saw San Marino’s record fall to 3-4 overall and 1-2 in league.
Let the final account of the contest reflect the efforts of SMHS sophomore running back Ryder Yoshitake, who hurled his body into the line of scrimmage 21 times, netting a hard-earned 81 rushing yards in the process.
There was junior lineman Julian Navarette, who according to San Marino head coach Ray Torres spent the entire evening running at and away from his Monrovia counterparts even though the game’s outcome had long been determined.
The relatively inexperienced Felix Steinberger, a sophomore, had to fill in at linebacker against what is arguably the most explosive offense in the San Gabriel Valley and “played extremely well,” in Torres’ estimation.
“Physically, Monrovia is Monrovia,” Torres said, “and Felix played extremely well.”
His classmate, two-way starter Coleman Morning, was lauded by Torres for “his consistency on offense and big-play capability on defense.”
“Coleman is a hard-nosed player, plain and simple,” Torres said.
Senior wide receiver and linebacker Andrew Hornberger didn’t evade notice.
“Andrew basically carried our passing attack,” said Torres. “He really keeps things moving and had a huge game.”
Though injured, the efforts of senior Jayden Hollomand and sophomore Mikey Yessaian never wavered.
“They really toughed it out,” Torres said. “I give them both a lot of credit.”
Credit they deserved but the night belonged to the Wildcats, who appear destined to win a league title when the season wraps up Oct. 29.
“We did some good things,” Torres said.
Down 21-0 late in the first quarter, San Marino took over on its own 32-yard line. Facing a fourth down-and-nine situation, senior quarterback Niko Mavridis connected with Hornberger for 17 yards and a first down. Three plays later, Mavridis found Yoshitake wheeling out of the backfield for a seven-yard touchdown connection. Freshman Toby Pedroza added the extra point to keep the Titans within range at 21-7.
San Marino didn’t return to the end zone until the third quarter. Trailing 56-7, Mavridis and Hornberger hooked up again for a 32-yard catch-and-carry that moved the ball to the Wildcats’ 34-yard line. Six plays later, San Marino cashed in when Mavridis found Morning on a well-designed three-yard pass to make the score 56-13.
But that was all the Titans could muster.
Mavridis ended the night completing 10 of 23 passes for 107 yards and the two touchdowns. Hornberger caught five passes for 85 yards while Morning and Yoshitake grabbing two apiece.
Morning was also busy on defense, collecting eight tackles and recovering a fumble. Sophomore Kevin Wong pitched in with five tackles and freshman Julian Solis added four for the Titans.
“The score didn’t look like it but we played extremely well,” Torres said. “Our linebackers and defensive backs were mostly sophomores who, before the season, had played four games of tackle football. They were in the right spots and did a good job.”