Tigers strangle the Pythons 35-15
Friday night at Panorama High School, members of the Panorama alumina and community join together as they celebrate homecoming week. However, it would be the San Fernando Tigers who would be the party crashers. Panorama High’s homecoming party turned into the Melvin Pineda show.
Pineda scored three of five touchdowns as the Tigers got a come-from-behind win to defeat the Pythons 35-15. Pineda explained how he was able to score three touchdowns in one game. He said it was a quick decision made by his quarterback.
“Honestly two of the three touchdowns that I made were in action and I did not think my quarterback was going to throw it to me,” Pineda said. “I was able to get them and bring them in the house”.
The Pythons started with the ball and would strike first at 8:55 on the clock when Panorama quarterback Keanu Kelly scored a touchdown from the goal line and converted the two-point attempt for an 8-0 lead. The Pythons would strike a second time when Kelly threw a touchdown pass to Jason Pineada giving Panorama a 15-0 lead at the end of the first quarter.
However, the Tigers would jump back into the game. The San Fernando defense would silence the Pythons in the second quarter by forcing Panorama’s offense both on downs and turnovers. With 1:22 on the clock in the second quarter, Pineda would score on a 10-yard touchdown. The Tigers failed to make a two-point conversion and at that point, the Pythons had a 15- 6.
With only 4 seconds left on the clock, Pineada scored his second touchdown of the game for the Tigers with a successful two-point conversion. The score was 15-14 in favor of Panorama at the half.
In the second half, it was total domination by the Tigers. Over two minutes into the third quarter, Pineda would get the hat trick with his third touchdown of the game with another two-point conversion. The Tigers defense would hold off the Pythons offense and San Fernando took a 22-15 lead at the end of the third quarter.
At the start of the fourth quarter, the Pythons were forced to punt the ball. The Tigers Ryder Garcia returned it all the way giving San Fernando a 28-15 lead with the Tigers missing the extra point.
“I caught the ball during the punt and there was an open lane,” Garcia said. “I moved to the left and my boy David Diaz made a great block to help me go all the way”.
Diaz, who made that important block, said it was all about great teamwork. He said he was just at the right place and the right time.
“There was not much to say about the block except to say it was perfect timing,” Diaz said. “I'm just glad that I was able to contribute in any way that I could to help our team win”.
However, within 32 seconds San Fernando would score again. The Tigers kicked off to the Pythons and suddenly Panorama lost control of the ball and it would be the Tigers Raymond Guzman who picked up the live ball and ran it in for a touchdown with 11:13 on the clock in the fourth quarter.
“My whole point on kick-off is to hit someone or get the ball back,” Guzman said.
“Our goal on kick-off is to give our defense the best position they can possibly be in. “When we kicked off I noticed the ball was loose and at ten yards it's a live ball and I was able to run it in”.
With 2:05 left in the fourth quarter, the Tigers would capture a fumble. San Fernando would run the clock out and win the game. The Tigers are now 8-1 and are in second place in the Mission Hills League. San Fernando head coach Charles Burnely said after the game that their only loss to Kennedy has turned into a learning experience that has motivated his team to keep winning and to never give up.
“Our guys are resilient, we went down with no need to panic,” Burnely said. I told my guys just to keep on fighting and that's what they did. They just pick up momentum and they never look back”.
Burnely explains how his team overcame a sluggish first half. He said his team has that reputation of always making a comeback.
“That's who we are,” Burnely said. “We have our struggles in the first half and somehow we always put it together in the second half. Our guys always stay focused and find ways to win”.
Burnely also said that the Tiger's tough loss to Kennedy has helped them become better and to continue winning without being distracted by any negativity. He said it was all about learning from mistakes through growing pains.
“Our loss to Kennedy taught us to simplify our offense much better,” Burnely said. “We went back to the drawing board to make new plans and we took it from there”.
With two weeks left in the regular season, there is the possibility that the Tigers could face the Cougars in CIF L.A City Section playoffs. The entire team has said that getting a rematch against Kennedy would be the most important game they will ever play in if given another shot.
Panorama head coach Adrian Beltran said despite the fact that his team had a good first half, things just did not go the Pythons way. He said that the team just needs to improve.
“We are still a young team and learning the system,” Beltran said. “Unfortunately we did not execute in the second half and we shot ourselves in the foot. There were some injuries but we can not use that as an excuse”.
The Tigers will play their final regular season game at home in two weeks against Reseda on Friday, October 27. The Pythons still have a chance to make things interesting in the Valley Mission League. Panorama travels to Kennedy on Friday, October 20.
If the Pythons are able to prevail against the Golden Cougars, there could be a three-way tie at the top of the league. If Panorama wins their final two games, they would be tied with Kennedy and San Fernando with a 5-1 record in the Valley Mission.
All Photos Courtesy of VST Intern Benjamin Becher