Football: ups and downs

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Having covered the Pacific League for roughly three decades, I’ve witnessed well-played football games and mismatches.

Truthfully, it’s never fun covering a team that has no chance of coming away with a victory.

The better teams have been Crescenta Valley High, Muir, with Arcadia also fielding strong teams.

Burbank has been usually solid and so has Burroughs, while Pasadena has been respectable, while Hoover and Glendale have lagged far behind.

The Falcons have been terrific because of Paul Schilling, the head coach.

Schilling is an excellent strategist and his teams have been dynamic with a mix of run and pass and its defense is always swarming and hard-hitting.

The Mustangs have been a powerhouse with extremely talented athletes.

Muir is the school that spawned Jackie Robinson, who later attended UCLA, where he was a four-sport star.

On April 15, 1947, Robinson became the first African-American to play in the big leagues in the 20th century.

But the most troubling teams have been Hoover and Glendale. While the two have been occasionally decent, the pair have been horrible.

The Tornadoes and Nitros have been perennial league doormats, with few good players, and football, which is physically challenging, a couple of good players isn’t going to cut it.

It’s not enjoyable watching a team fall behind 28-0 after the first quarter and then trail 49-0 at the half.

One memory pops into my mind. Many years ago, when Dennis Hughes was Hoover’s coach, the Tornadoes were down by an insurmountable number with no hope of rallying.

Hughes’ squad had given up another touchdown. Hughes had his head down, pacing the sideline and didn’t want to look.

His face and body language revealed what had to be running inside his head and churning in his stomach.


About Author

The Sports Department Rick Assad has written about sports for the Pasadena Star-News and Los Angeles Times. Contact him at

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