Ups and downs for Tornadoes

Only boys' water polo, boys' tennis and baseball qualify for playoffs, but still plenty of highlights to go around.

August 24, 2011|By Charles Rich,
  • Hoover High quarterback A.J. Pule.
Hoover High quarterback A.J. Pule. (Raul Roa, Glendale…)

This is the fourth of eight editions in which the News-Press looks back at the area's 2010-11 seasons, school by school, before looking ahead at the year to come.

While Hoover didn't win any Pacific League championships during the 2010-11 campaign, some teams made huge strides en route to qualifying for the playoffs. Those teams reaching the playoffs included the boys' water polo team, led by standout Hakop Kaplanyan, along with the baseball and boys' tennis programs.

The girls' tennis team fell just short of qualifying for the playoffs. In football, Hoover fell to cross-town rival Glendale in "The Battle for the Victory Bell" and Coach Chris Long resigned in the spring. The winter season proved to be a long one for the Tornadoes, as none of the five teams made postseason appearances.

In boys' tennis, a singles player reached the league championship match and perhaps set the stage for a promising future.


Here is a recap of some of the Tornadoes' athletic highlights and events that unfolded during the past year:

Sept. 10, 2010 — The football team begins its season with a 35-27 nonleague road loss against Sierra Vista. Senior quarterback AJ Pule completes 22 of 39 for 385 yards and two touchdowns.

Sept. 22, 2010 — The Tornado girls' volleyball team rallies from a 2-0 deficit to pick up a 24-26, 21-25, 25-23, 25-17, 15-10 nonleague win against visiting Alverno.

"The first two games were pretty much our warm-up, we have to get into the game," Tornadoes junior middle blocker Elizabeth Dardov said. "We weren't very discouraged.

"We knew that we could do it, because we knew we were the better team."

Dardov leads the Tornadoes with 12 kills, including two in the early going of the pivotal fifth game, to go along with four aces and Meagan Knight adds 11 more kills and three aces.

Sept. 24, 2010 — The football team picks up its lone win of the season, as Pule tosses five touchdown passes and rushes for two scores to power the visiting Tornadoes to a 45-38 nonleague victory against Mountain View at South El Monte High.

"I've been getting every play down and I've been thinking about having a big performance," said Pule, who completes 20 of 33 passes for 354 yards, including four touchdown passes to receiver Dymond McRae, who has seven catches for 131 yards. "I was really focused on doing whatever I could to help our team get that first win."

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