Glendale started fast to the tune of a 21-0 first-half lead, but faltered mightily, as South Pasadena (0-3) scored the game’s next 21 points, including 14 in the second half to equate to overtime.
“We went from this to this and back to right here,” said Chavez, motioning high, then low, then back up moments after he swept right on the second play of overtime for the game-winning score. “The whole game we thought we had them. I guess we slowed down.”
The Nitros outgained the Tigers, 214 to 94, in the total yards department in the first half. In the final 24 minutes, however, South Pas won that battle, 162-95.
Glendale found the end zone on three of its first four possessions.
Chavez, who went 10 for 15 for 153 yards and two touchdowns in the first half, found Richard Anaya in the back of the end zone for an eight-yard score with 6:31 left in the opening quarter.
After Glendale’s next drive halted, Anaya recovered a muffed punt and the Nitros upped their lead to 14-0 when Anthony Platero rumbled in from five yards out. Platero would finish the game with 92 yards in 22 carries.
A 26-yard touchdown strike from Chavez to Linden Anderson, who had five grabs for 77 yards, had the Tigers reeling with 8:24 left in the first half.
But South Pasadena scored shortly before intermission and the momentum officially turned. In the first half, Glendale controlled the majority of the clock, but that reversed in the second half with a bigger Tigers line wearing out the Glendale defense and providing an unrelenting pass rush against Chavez.
After South Pasadena tied the game at 21 with 5:42 left in the game, Glendale’s ensuing drive saw the Nitros go for it on fourth and six from their own 42 with 4:00 left. A pass by Chavez, who finished the day 12 of 26 for 185 yards, fell incomplete, though.
But on the Tigers’ ensuing play, a fumble popped right into the grasp of junior linebacker Duncan Maxwell.
Glendale then engaged on a drive that saw Anderson haul in a huge 29-yard grab, Platero recover a bad snap to save the game and Anaya just miss a game-winning field goal with no time left. But with one overtime drive and one defensive stop, the Nitros finally got the result they were searching for.
“It’s a big win for us,” Eberhart said. “When it was falling apart, I’m thinking it’s either me [that’s] cursed or we’re cursed. ... I’m just happy and I’m relieved. The kids worked so hard and we have some joy now.”