It’s Time for Titan Football!

Evan Bruno, Sports Editor

A new season of Titan football is upon us, and there is a feeling this season will turn out better than the previous season. With multiple coaching changes in the offseason, a new system on both sides of the football is being put into motion as the Titans look to improve their game in any way possible. Led by seniors Ryan Singhal and Julian Navarrete, and juniors Coleman Morning and Mikey Yessian, a bounceback season is expected to occur this year. Taking snaps this year at quarterback will be Riley Short, 12,  the younger brother of former SMHS quarterback Connor Short. The younger Short will look to lead his squad to an improved season, and with the return of star running back Singhal, things on paper look to be trending up for the Titan football program. “We’re definitely ready to take the next step this season,” said Julian Solis, 10. “I’m optimistic for what’s to come.”

This optimism in the program would be tested in the opener against Norwalk on Friday, August 19. Last season, when the Titans traveled to Norwalk to open up the season, it resulted in a 34-22 victory over the Lancers, but this game would be a difficult one. Running back Michael Mueller, 12, would be the man to watch for the Lancers, while Singhal drew attention from fans on the Titan side of the ball. 

As the game began, the Titans kicked the ball off to Norwalk, where after a short minute and a half long drive, Mueller ran it into the endzone for a Lancer touchdown. Trailing by 7 early on, Short led the Titans down the field, where Singhal responded with a three yard touchdown run up the gut for a touchdown; although the PAT would be no good, the score was 7-6, Norwalk.

By the end of the first quarter, Norwalk would add thirteen more points to their score, and it looked like more were on the horizon until Felix Steinberger, 11, forced a fumble, giving San Marino the ball at midfield. However, after a quick three and out, Mueller ran 49 yards for another touchdown, putting Norwalk up 27-6. But the Titans quickly responded to this huge play with a big play of their own, as Short connected with receiver Ryan Park, 11, for a 50+ yard touchdown, making the score 27-13. After Mueller ran for another touchdown for Norwalk, San Marino drove down the field and Short passed for his second touchdown of the game, connecting with Christopher Parwar, 10, on an eleven yard touchdown. Before the half, Norwalk would score once more, ending the first half with the Titans trailing 41-21.

The second half was much more low scoring than the first; the action started early, as Morning made a nice grab to get a twelve yard touchdown, although the two-point conversion was no good. After Mueller torched the Titan defense yet again, Norwalk extended their lead to 49-27; the Titans looked to respond, but ended their drive with an interception.

The fourth quarter gave a different Titan receiver a touchdown, this time with Yessian making his first TD grab of the season, although Norwalk would respond with yet another rushing touchdown, making the score 55-33. And the score would remain this way until the clock hit zero, with the final, San Marino, 33, Norwalk, 55.

This score on paper may not look so great but there were a lot of positives coming out of this game. Short looked confident at quarterback, throwing four passing touchdowns and only one interception. The running back duo of Singhal and Solis showed potential to be deadly, and the receiving core looked great led by Yessian and Morning. However, the biggest positive coming out of the game was the performance of senior Jaden Clarke on defense. Clarke looked great against the run offense that seemed to overpower the Titan defense, a great sign for games to come. The offense looked quite good, and with a few minor kinks the defense can elevate to the level of the offense. “This defeat was disappointing, as it was a game we could have won, but we’ll bounce back with a win next week,” said coach George Lopez. Although this game started the season off with a loss, the Titans came out strong and look to build upon this offensive success.