Some teams may have trouble finding the motivation to get through the dog days of August practice, but that isn’t the case at Pasadena High School.
The Bulldogs open the season at home against PAC-5 Division power Alemany on Aug. 24.
With such a high-profile opponent right out of the blocks, the Bulldogs have been on their best behavior so far in practice.
“The energy has been there,” Pasadena coach Randy Horton said. “The kids know what’s at stake. Guys are excited because it’s Alemany.
“We’ll see, though. You never can tell until you play somebody.”
The Bulldogs weren’t close in last season’s game, a 55-0 loss.
Much of that, Horton feels, was because of a bad first half that cannot be repeated in this year’s renewal.
“I showed them film again from last year,” Horton said. “The first possession, we were dropping balls. The game could have easily been 14-7 or 14-0 us in the first quarter. I really want to see how we play without all the mistakes and giving them the ball.”
Pasadena has its work cut out. Yes, the Bulldogs return standout quarterback Brandon Cox, but the rest of the skill players are very light on experience. In fact, the Bulldogs are replacing their six top receivers from last year and top running back.
Despite that, Horton said the offense had been showing signs of promise throughout spring and summer until last Saturday’s intra-squad scrimmage.
“The offense had been beating up on the defense so far,” Horton said. “But Saturday, the defense dominated the offense. It was very promising.”
Injuries have been a bit of an issue for the Bulldogs. The most notable is starting corner back Ronald Baker, who sprained his knee on the school’s field-turf surface last week and won’t be back until the end of this week at the earliest.
Tight end/defensive end Alex Baer also has a sprained knee, but his is considered less severe.
Not everything settled at Arcadia
Arcadia running back Jake Medel made quite a splash when pressed into action last season. The then-junior ran for more than 800 yards and 11 touchdowns, thus causing many to assume he will be the starter this season.
First-year Apaches coach Chris Long said Monday that Medel will line up at receiver and senior Sheldon McKinley will start at running back. Both players will see carries, though, Long said.
“I’m looking forward to having them both on the field at the same time,” he said. “McKinley is the starter and Jake is starting at receiver.”
McKinley was the team’s original starter at running back last season and was playing well before getting injured.
Quarterback still is a soer spot for the Apaches. South Pasadena transfer Joey Harmon has been given full eligibility by CIF-SS, Long said, and still is battling with Zach Yee for the job.
Long said Friday’s scrimmage against Silverado will go a long way in determining who wins the job.