A big-play performer
Crockom makes it happen
During the 2007 season, Pasadena High School senior quarterback Tyron Crockom passed for 2,905 yards and 28 touchdowns, and also ran for 753 yards and six scores. He helped the Bulldogs upset No. 2 seed Chaffey in the CIF-Southern Section playoffs. (Keith Birmingham/Staff Photographer)
By Scott Galetti Staff Writer
PASADENA — It was a familiar sight for spectators and an all-too eerie scenario for opposing defenses.
Pasadena High School quarterback Tyron Crockom scrambling around in the backfield trying to avoid an opponent’s rush.
This scenario, more times than not, ended in the same fashion – with Crockom sending a pass deep downfield into the waiting arms of either Michael Harrison or Arness Ikner for a long gain or touchdown.
Crockom’s ability to pull off big plays out of what seemed like sure losses frustrated opponents every week.
His accomplishments earned Crockom recognition as the 2007 Star-News Player of the Year.
“One word – phenomenal – that’s all you need to describe him,” Pasadena coach Kevin Mills said. “He means so much, and he has such a presence that his confidence just goes over to everybody else on the team.”
The three-year varsity player and two-year full-time starter entered the season with one goal in mind – to win a Pacific League championship.
Pasadena, however, lost a hard-fought, 13-9 thriller to Muir in the Turkey Tussle at the Rose Bowl to give the Mustangs the league title.
The Bulldogs lost their chance of a league crown, but they rallied the following week in the opening round of the CIF-Southern Section Central Division playoffs against No. 2-seeded Chaffey. And they did it behind their leader, Crockom.
Crockom was 28-of-41 for 402 yards and five touchdowns as Pasadena pulled off a 51-46 upset on the road.
Crockom’s high school career ended in the second round when he went 9-of-16 for 218 yards and two touchdowns in a 21-20 loss at Canyon Springs.
He finished his senior season as the team leader in passing and rushing.
The talented senior completed 65 percent of his passes and threw for 2,905 yards and 28 touchdowns.
As if that wasn’t enough, Crockom added 753 yards and six touchdowns on the ground.
“The whole year long I really tried to get `T’ to just really incorporate himself into the offense and be more hands-on, and be, for lack of a better term, a little bit selfish,” Mills said. “I wanted him to make other teams respect our offense by having to focus on him.
“I told him, `Once (opponents) have to respect you – and they never know what you’re going to do – it opens up everything for everyone else,’
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and he took that to heart.”
Mills may have told Crockom to be selfish, but the coach knew the Pacific League’s Most Valuable Player was the consummate team athlete.
“Tyron has great intelligence and is a very personable young man and he’s always one to put team first,” Mills said.
Crockom’s will to win and ability to get his teammates involved helped him serve as a respected team leader.
“He was a blessing for our team, especially for my high-school career, because he really helped us out a lot,” Harrison said. “If most teams don’t have a good quarterback than they’re not going to be a good team. But on our hand, we had a great athlete like Tyron, plus he could throw the ball.”
Added Ikner: “He controlled the team and put us in good places all the time and he won games for us.”
Crockom felt Harrison and Ikner equally were responsible as leaders.
“I’m not just the one leader out there, it’s me, Arness and `Trumpet’ (Harrison),” Crockom said. “(The players) looked up to us, and if they see us working hard, they’re going to work hard.”
With the exception of a season-opening, 26-6 loss to Harvard-Westlake, when he was 6-of-18 for 38 yards, Crockom almost was unstoppable throwing the ball, even in losing efforts.
Crockom riddled a strong Arcadia defense for a season-high 436 yards with four touchdowns in a 43-29 loss to the Apaches.
He had 296 yards and three TDs in a 49-20 loss to a powerful Dominguez team and added 335 yards and two touchdowns in a 41-22 loss to Stevenson Ranch West Ranch, a game the Bulldogs later were awarded a victory via forfeit.
“Those games really brought us up,” Crockom recalled. “Sometimes you need a loss to get back on track.”
Every game Pasadena played had a constant theme – Crockom scrambling around.
It was a situation he thrived on and was amused by.
“While I’m dropping back scrambling, I’m just laughing in my head and saying, `Look at them trying to catch me,’ ” Crockom said. “Once I start running, the whole defense just charged me, leaving people like Michael Harrison and Arness Ikner down the field wide open, so I just throw a 30- or 40-yard bomb and they just score.”
Harrison believes one of Crockom’s biggest magical moments this season came in a 28-27 victory at Burroughs when Crockom frustrated the Indians’ defense all night.
“We really wouldn’t have won the Burroughs game without Tyron as the quarterback,” Harrison said.
He’s undecided on a school, but Crockom hopes to perform more magic on the collegiate level.