First published in the Oct. 21 print issue of the Outlook Valley Sun.
The La Cañada High School varsity football team will take on Polytechnic School of Pasadena in the first Rio Hondo League contest between the two programs today, Oct. 21, at 7 p.m.
With two league losses on the season for LCHS and a CIF Southern Section playoff berth on the line, first-year Spartan coach Dave Avramovich called the showdown with the Panthers a “must-win.”
“It’s win or go home,” he said Monday. “I think it will be a fun game.”
It will certainly be a memorable one for everyone involved since the game is being played at the historic Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum — the only venue to host two summer Olympics (in 1932 and 1984) and the home of the USC football team since 1923. The Coliseum is scheduled to host the Olympics Opening Ceremony for a third time in 2028.
“Poly called us and asked if we wanted to play there,” said Avramovich. “I said, ‘Of course!’ It’s a stadium with incredible history and tradition. It’s going to be such a cool experience for the kids, and the pregame [warmups] will be awesome.”
It’s especially sweet for both programs after having their seasons shortened and playoffs canceled last school year due to the coronavirus pandemic. LCHS played four games in the abbreviated campaign and the Panthers competed only in one game at the Rose Bowl Stadium.
“I’m from Michigan, and the Rose Bowl has a mythical aura to it,” Poly head coach Chris Schmoke said in a statement. “The Coliseum is also one of the quintessential stadiums in the world and to have the opportunity to play in it in less than a seven-month span is really exciting for us.”
The two programs last faced each other in 2018, when Poly shut out the Spartans, 52-0, in what was one of LCHS’ worst seasons in school history. La Cañada football has bounced back with an overall record of 13-9 since 2019.
The Spartans (5-3 overall) enter the Coliseum with a 1-2 record in Rio Hondo play while the Panthers (4-3 overall) come in with a 2-1 league mark, which includes victories over LCHS rivals San Marino and South Pasadena. La Cañada shut out Temple City last Friday, 48-0, but suffered a tough defeat against South Pasadena, 23-22, on Oct. 7 that jeopardized its playoff chances.
“That was a terrible loss [against the Tigers], so it’s a playoff game for us [against Poly],” Avramovich said.
Tonight’s contest will also be Poly’s homecoming and tickets can be purchased at the entrance, which is Gate 4. Parking will be available for $18 at the Expo Park museum structure or at Flower (south of Exposition) for $10.