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Against Odds, Frosh Football Team’s Season was a Success

The teams' second-place finish came despite playing league opponents that fielded sophomores and juniors. Sutherland, Karapetyan were offensive standouts.

The+freshman+football+team+showed+promise+as+early+as+its+scrimmage+against+Arcadia+High+School+on+August+18.+
The freshman football team showed promise as early as its scrimmage against Arcadia High School on August 18.

The freshman football team showed promise as early as its scrimmage against Arcadia High School on August 18.

The freshman football team showed promise as early as its scrimmage against Arcadia High School on August 18.

Will Slocum, Reporter

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By the time the final whistle blew on the freshman Titans football season, they had compiled a record good enough to earn them a second place finish with an overall record of 6-4, including a 3-1 mark in Rio Hondo League play. 

San Marino had a productive offensive season where they got in the end zone many times. Helping the team along was the defense, which  made numerous important stops throughout the season and had two games where they kept the opponents off the board completely.

To be sure, there were a few outlier games in which either the offense, defense or both units had rough games.

Some of those games that the Titans struggled as a team were against big name schools such as Dominguez Hills High School and St. Francis High School.

San Marino was able to win some conference games against frosh teams who fielded sophomores and juniors. Some of those Rio Hondo league games where the Titans opponents were upperclassmen included wins against La Canada and Temple City, and a loss to South Pasadena.

Offensive linemen and defensive line captain Glover Talt mentioned how his team was able to continue to play hard even when things got tough.

“I feel like our biggest strength for the line was to be able to lock in and focus when things got rough or serious, along with an undying loyalty and devotion to each other, and our team and our coaches,” Talt said.

Throughout the season, San Marino struggled with penalties, tackling and at the beginning of the season, turnovers.

One of the biggest strengths that San Marino had was jumping on the board early in the game to score first. In multiple games, the Titans got in the end zone within the first few plays of the first quarter.

An example of that was when running back Matthew Karapetyan returned an opening kickoff to the for a touchdown in a 20-0 victory against Monrovia on October 26th.

Even though the Titans started off games well, there were a few contests where they struggled in the second half.

San Marino High School freshman football coach Matt Wilson mentioned his thoughts on the season, “For freshman football it’s about getting better from week to week,” said Head Coach Matt Wilson.  “And generally, I feel that we did that. Wins and losses are a great thing, we want to win every game. But ultimately as long as we’re getting better each week, we’re having a successful season.” 

The Titans were led by quarterback Andy Sutherland, who made many important passes for touchdowns over the season. Sutherland also scored some touchdowns on the ground and played defensive back. His best game of the season was when he was responsible for 6 touchdowns in a 38-18 victory at Cantwell-Sacred Heart of Mary High School on September 14th. For the season, Sutherland threw 17 touchdown passes  and rushed for three more.

Some wide receivers who helped Sutherland were Trond Grizzell and Jeffrey Conzonire. Sutherland made many passes downfield to those players and some other receivers for large gains. Grizzell had seven touchdown receptions on the season and Conzonire had five.

The Titans running game also had a solid season. That was mostly caused by the play of running back Karapetyan. Karapetyan scored 10 rushing touchdowns. Running back Seth Ruiz also got his share of yards.

 “I feel as though our team had a successful season considering it was our first year playing tackle football,” Ruiz said. 

“Along with our team, we all need to work together,” added Ruiz. “Since it’s a team sport, everyone needs to work together and do their part.”

San Marino also had a solid defensive effort throughout the season. The Titan defense was characterized by a defensive line that was able to stop the run and record sacks.  The defensive line consisted of Nick Derrick, Jeffrey Conzonire, Glover Talt and Andrew Karapetyan, with occasional help from Cole Cribbs.

Andrew Karapetyan remarked on what allowed the defensive line to have a good season with their practice routine.

“We always talked on the field about who we should block and how we would block our man,” he said. “We had practiced this every day in practice so we would make this team successful.”

Matthew Karapetyan also played well as a defensive back. He had many interceptions throughout the season, at one point he intercepted passes in three straight games. Also, Joshua Arevalo had a nice season on defense. The games where San Marino gave up the most points were against football powerhouse schools.

Some of the highlights of the season for the Titan defense were the games against Bell Gardens and Monrovia. In both of those contests  San Marino shut out the opponents.The Titans played especially well against Bell Gardens, where the defense had four takeaways. The other highlight for the Titan defense were forcing a turnover on downs against Temple City late in the game to finish off the Rams. At that point, San Marino had a precarious seven-point lead.

On special teams, kicker Jordan Evans had a solid season where he converted most of his extra points. The Titans also got a few special teams turnovers during the season. Most of them came by tackling the opposing punter after he dropped the snap or the center made a bad snap.

Summaries of the Games:

  • Aug. 24th- loss at Los Altos 28-7: Even though San Marino gave up 28 points, their defense played well and most of the points came on scores set up by turnovers.
  • Aug. 31st- loss at Dominguez Hills 62-43: The Titans struggled on defense and turned the ball over. Quarterback Sutherland had 5 touchdown passes and Matthew Karapetyan had a 100-yard pick six for a touchdown.
  • Sept. 7th- win against El Monte at home 27-20: Quarterback Sutherland had 2 touchdown passes and Matthew Karapetyan had two touchdown runs. San Marino was losing at halftime, though momentum was gained after scoring early in the second half. With the score tied, Nathan Fajardo made a big play where he tackled the Lions punter for a turnover on downs, which led to San Marino scoring the game-winning touchdown.
  • Sept. 14th- win at Cantwell-Sacred Heart of Mary 38-18: San Marino had no turnovers and played well on defense. Matthew Karapetyan had an interception for his third straight game. Sutherland had 6 touchdowns (4 passing, 2 rushing.)
  • Sept. 21st- win against Bell Gardens at home 49-0: Matthew Karapetyan had a nice game with 3 touchdowns (2 rushing and 1 on a punt return.) Sutherland had 3 touchdown passes. Some of these scores came after San Marino got good field position, which was set up by the Titans forcing four turnovers (2 interceptions, 2 fumbles.) San Marino made two nice stops to keep Bell Gardens out of the end zone at the end of each half.
  • Oct. 5th- win against La Canada at home 39-24: The Titans got off to a slow start and allowed La Canada to score quickly at the beginning of the game. Victor Fuan had a pick six and Sutherland made some big passes that set up touchdowns. On defense, San Marino played better throughout the game
  • Oct. 12th- loss at St. Francis 42-13: Despite scoring on the first play of the game, the Titan offense had a tough outing. San Marino moved the ball dowfield though they had trouble reaching the end zone. San Marino struggled on defense, especially against the running game.
  • Oct. 19th- win against Temple City at home 19-12: The game started when Sutherland made an 80 yard touchdown pass to Grizzell. The Titan offense struggled through the first half and had a 19-0 lead going into the locker room (Coach Wilson stated that it should have been a bigger lead.) Temple City made a comeback in the second half and got within 7 points of San Marino. The Titan defense made a big stop late in the game to secure the victory.
  • Oct. 26th- win against Monrovia at home 20-0: San Marino started off by having two early scores (a 90-yard kickoff return for a touchdown by Matthew Karapetyan and capitalizing on a turnover.) Through the rest of the game, San Marino was able to move the ball well though they only had one more score in the remainder of the game. The Titans had a nice defensive effort (especially on the defensive line.)
  • Nov. 2nd- loss at South Pasadena 33-0: The Titans offense had a tough game. They got shut down on the running game and quarterback Andy Sutherland was under a lot of pressure. San Marino missed out on several big plays. The San Marino defense played okay, though they were hurt by plays made by the Tigers.

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Against Odds, Frosh Football Team’s Season was a Success