Pasadena is coming off another successful regular season, finishing with a record of 8-2, which earned them a third'-consecutive trip to DII Nationals.
Pasadena is an evenly balanced team, and assistant coach Aaron Tanner recognizes that the ability to spread the wealth between backs and forwards is critical for his team. He says that Pasadena is successful when they control the tempo and pace of the game rather than following the finesse of their opponents.
Key players for Pasadena RFC include Scotty Chambers, Chris Gutierrez, and Brian Achioca.
Chambers is a flyhalf and is one of the team’s leaders. Gutierrez and Achioca are both forwards. Gutierrez anchors the scrum and is described as a beast. The team looks to him as a platform for physical play. Achioca is a flanker, who is active, mobile, and sets Pasadena’s defensive style and pattern with his tackling.
These players have been there for Pasadena’s three consecutive trips to nationals, and Coach Tanner says that the continuity and experience of these players is valuable for the team.
Pasadena’s two losses this season came at perfect times and were crucial moments for the team. Taking an early loss to the Sin City Irish served as a wakeup call which led the team to start having better practices and increased desire, according to Tanner. Their second loss against Ventura came at the end of the season. This game reminded the team how difficult it is to play well for long periods of time and that they cannot afford to take days off or plays off because in nationals, every mistake can be penalized.
Coach Tanner also recognizes that one of the most important keys to the team’s success is the support of their old boys network. He says they have stepped up their financial support this year more than any other year. The Old Boys make it so the team doesn’t have to think about anything other than playing rugby when there could be so many more complications traveling from California to Texas.
Pasadena expects a tough match in their first tournament game against the local Frisco Griffins. The team’s attitude is that “seeding is irrelevant; no matter who we play, they’re going to be good,” said Turner. He and head coach Chris Wi Rita are making sure that Pasadena is prepared for a battle this Saturday.