The Pasadena High School football program has been here before. Several times in the recent past the Bulldogs have had step-up games and come up way short of expectations.
Yet again, there’s optimism surrounding the Bulldogs and tonight they can show whether it’s justified when nearby La Salle pays a visit. Kickoff is 7 p.m.
“It’s definitely going to be a heated night,” Pasadena head coach Douglas Bledsoe said. “This is a rivalry game for us, because everybody knows each other. We want to win.”
Pasadena started the season with a resounding, 50-7 win over South El Monte last week. The Bulldogs have now equaled last year’s win total, but there’s a sentiment around town that many more happy Friday nights are on the way.
It starts with standout wide receiver Tyrek Adams, who is 6-foot-3 and also one of the top basketball players in the area. Pasadena was bolstered in the offseason by the transfer of quarterback Jorge Reyna, who guided Downey to a CIF championship two years ago as a sophomore.
“We feel we have the best quarterback in the area, we feel we have the best receiver in the area and we feel we have one of the best offensive lines in the area,” Bledsoe said. “Our kids are very confident. They’re going to play in front of the home crowd. We’re going to go out there and play hard, but we know La Salle is one of the better-coached teams around.”
Despite all of the Pasadena hype, La Salle is still considered to be prohibitive favorite tonight. The Lancers are led by quarterback Will Plyburn and feature some top-flight receivers of their own in Evan Rambo and Isiah Spencer.
But it was the Lancers’ defense that stole the headlines last week by putting the clamps on Compton in a 34-0 win that saw the visiting Tarbabes struggle to cross midfield. La Salle won last year’s game against PHS, 28-0.
“I’m really impressed with their quarterback,” Bledsoe said of Plyburn. “They have probably one of the best wide receiver tandems. They’re going to give us problems, but we’ve got the play them. You want to be the best, you’ve got to beat the best.
“We know they’re a very talented football team, but like I said, they’re one of the better-coached football teams in the area. This is a big game for us and we’re looking for a big game. And we’re looking to come out with a victory.”