Football blows season opener against Pasadena

Chronicle Staff

The stage was set for a fairy tale start last Friday night to head football coach Vic Eumont’s Wolverine career, but that was before Pasadena High School receiver Armand Binns had a say. The senior receiver caught four touchdown passes including a 14 yard touchdown pass with 32 seconds left to complete a 28 point second half Pasadena comeback, giving them a 34-33 victory at Pasadena City College.

Going into the half the Wolverines led 20-6 scoring on a one yard pass from John Howe ’07 to Ryan Calvert ’07 and a four yard run by George Welsh ’07 that was set up by a Clark Porter ’07 forced fumble.

The Wolverines had momentum on their side, despite hearing the news that starting running back Paul Royster ’08 had to sit out the remainder of the game with a partially separated shoulder.

On the first play from scrimmage in the second half, running back Elias De Wit ’07 ran 85 yards for a touchdown and it seemed as though the game was out of reach with the Wolverines leading 27-6.

“It was just a simple inside run and Elias broke free and took it to the house. He’s a very powerful runner,” Howe said after the run.

Yet, on the very next play, Pasadena came roaring back as they took the ensuing kickoff 92 yards for a touchdown.

After a 10 yard touchdown run by De Wit, it was all Pasadena, turning almost every mistake into a Binns touchdown.

“Our open field tackling disappeared in the second half. We needed to minimize their yards after the catch, and we weren’t able to,” receiver Andy Firestone ’08 said.

Binns caught touchdown passes of 43 and 31 yards to pull the Bulldogs within five.

The Wolverines were able to temporarily stave off the Bulldog attack, forcing a punt and a turnover on downs in the fourth quarter, but it was a fumbled snap by Howe with 1:45 left that gave Pasadena, down 33-28, one final opportunity to win the game.

It took the Bulldogs two plays. They found their star receiver who caught consecutive passes, the latter for a 14 yard touchdown that gave Pasadena a 34-33 lead with 32 seconds left. With one second left the Wolverines attempted a 47 yard field goal that fell well short of the uprights.

“We were one point short, and that means we are just going to have to work that much harder. We can’t be 10-0 but that won’t stop us from being 9-1,” Eumont said after his team was defeated.

Eumont, the third coach in three years for the Wolverines, is continuing a restructuring of the program which began after the 2004 season. Aided with a move from division III to division VII, Eumont will try to improve upon the 5-5 finish last year. This year, the Wolverines play in the Del Rey League.

He views himself as a defensively oriented coach and has been working with Defensive Coordinator Terrance Johnson to put his influence in the defense.

Eumont has confidence in his starting quarterback Howe, who Eumont refers to as “a field general.” Due to the team’s recent history of injury problems, Eumont has decided not to start Howe on both sides of the ball.

Yet, there are others who play both offense and defense such as Ryan Calvert ’07, De Wit, and Clark Porter ’07. On the offensive line a trio of juniors will be playing both offense and defense: Jonathon Martin ’08, Jakarri Hamlin ’08, and Ross Gruber ’08.
As for Friday’s game against Van Nuys, Eumont knows he is going up against a new opponent, so they can’t design a game-plan based on last year.

“We don’t really know what our enemy is going to be like. We assume they are going to be good and we are going to have to adjust to their speed and their strengths,” Eumont said.