NEWPORT COAST — Dr. Drew Pinsky watched the action Friday night at Sage Hill School.
Pinsky, the radio and television personality, was happy to sit in the stands watching the game without too much fanfare. He doesn't have as much advice to dish out on the football field.
His son Jordan, a senior center for visiting Pasadena Poly, dished out plenty.
Poly dominated in the trenches, rushing for 370 yards and handing the Lightning their first loss of the season, 35-14, in the nonleague game.
On a night when Sage Hill senior Taylor Ross set the school's single-season record for rushing yards, it was Poly's senior tailback, Blake Edwards, who did most of the damage. Edwards finished with 275 yards and three touchdowns on 20 carries.
"Sage Hill, we knew they were a good team," Edwards said. "But you know, our line came out today and we just dominated. Our line, our fullback [Yusef Burpee], we were really physical. They just pushed up front and opened up the holes."
Poly (3-2), ranked No. 8 in the CIF Southern Section Northeast Division poll, never trailed. And the Panthers defense also did the job against the rushing attack of Sage Hill (5-1).
Ross, who now has 1,120 yards for the season to break Keya Manshadi's 2005 mark, still finished with a season-low 112 yards Friday night. He did have a 30-yard touchdown run out of the Wildcat formation — Sage Hill's only offensive touchdown of the night — but the Lightning were unable to get into a rhythm for much of the game.
Sage did tie it up at 7-7 in the first quarter on a heads-up play from junior Taylor Petty. Many of the players on the field stopped playing when Poly quarterback Hunter Merryman's throw into the flat hit the ground, but the play was actually ruled a lateral. Petty picked up the live ball and scored.
But two second-quarter drives stalled in Panthers territory, and Poly had a 21-7 lead at halftime.
"The things that we've been doing to win ballgames, we didn't do them tonight," Sage Hill Coach J.R. Tolver said. "We didn't capitalize on opportunities that we had, we didn't do a good job as a defense stopping the run and making tackles. We didn't do a good job as an offense taking advantage of some of the things they gave us. That's all it comes down to.
"[Poly] is a good football team, but they're not 21 points better than us. It's just a matter of us taking advantage of every opportunity we have."
Sage Hill was still in the game midway through the third quarter, pulling to 28-14 after Ross' touchdown run saved a third-and-21 situation. And, after the ensuing kickoff was fumbled by Poly and recovered by the Lightning's Conor Kort, Sage had a golden opportunity.
But that drive ended on a turnover-on-downs, and the Panthers immediately drove down the field and scored when Edwards found the end zone a third time from eight yards out early in the fourth quarter.
Edwards watched Drew Pinsky and his other son, Doug, leaving the field after the game. Doug is a senior linebacker for Poly.
"They're pretty good friends of mine," Edwards said. "[Drew] is like another dad to me. Other people say, 'Oh, that's Dr. Drew!' "
After a game like that, rushing for nearly 300 yards, Edwards doesn't need to be star-struck. He also played cornerback against Petty, limiting the Lightning's passing opportunities. But Tolver wasn't totally displeased.
"This team is Linfield Christian of 2009," said Tolver, adding that Poly is the best team Sage has faced so far this year. "We lost [to Linfield] 56-0, so I think you can see that improvement for us is definitely on the horizon."
Pasadena Poly 35, Sage Hill 14
SCORE BY QUARTERS