“It’s a huge game for everybody [in the community], especially the kids that are playing in it,” said Nitros Coach Rafik Thorossian, a three-time participant in the game himself, who returned to Glendale this year to take over the reins of his alma mater. “The kids are ready for it, they’re pumped up, and at Hoover, I know it’s the same thing.”
Last year, the game took place under nearly identical circumstances, with each team seeking its first win.
Hoover prevailed, 22-15, to cut Glendale’s all-time edge in the rivalry to 45-31-2 and put an uplifting epilogue on its otherwise trying season.
“It was really difficult going through the  season with all the losses and with that [Victory Bell] win, we didn’t feel like we had a failure of a season,” said Hoover senior running back Jonathan Mai, who played in last year’s game. “We were able to do something in the end to redeem ourselves.”
Echoing that theme was longtime Hoover Coach and Glendale alumnus Dennis Hughes.
“It’s a chance for both teams to get redemption against their crosstown rival,” he said. “It’s got a lot of things to motivate you — as a player, if you’re not motivated for this game, you must be dead.”
Taking part in the fight for redemption will be veterans, like Mai and Nitros senior running back Zane Archer, as well as newcomers to the rivalry.
Both teams will be starting relatively inexperienced quarterbacks in Hoover senior Erik Galvan, a first-year signal caller who has split time with sophomore Stephen Choi, and Glendale junior Arturo Garcia, promoted to the starting job just three weeks ago. Behind Garcia, who has posted consistent passing numbers and developed a downfield rapport with Archer, the Nitros (0-8-1, 0-6 in the Pacific League) have been competitive in their last three contests.