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Numbers could tell Nitros' tale

Football: Glendale plans to rely on its talented few in 2011 to produce more wins than last year.

September 07, 2011|By Grant Gordon, grant.gordon@latimes.com

SOUTHEAST GLENDALE — No matter the level of improvement seen by Glendale High Coach Alan Eberhart, he's well aware that football is a game of numbers and the most important statistics are wins and losses.

"We've come a long way in a lot of areas, but ultimately it's gonna be judged, I don't care what anybody says, by how many games you win," Eberhart said.

Last year, Glendale won just one game, defeating archrival Hoover in the final week of the season to cast aside a winless season.

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This year, Glendale begins the 2011 campaign with the glaring number of just 25 players on the team.

"It's the No. 1 problem since we've gotten here, there's just not enough interest in football," Eberhart said. "Quite honestly, I don't have the answers."

Eberhart contends that last year's 1-9 team, which took seventh place in the Pacific League, eventually dropped in roster size to 25 players or so later in the season, but to have the number so low at this point of the year is alarming.

"That we're this low, this early, is concerning," Eberhart said.

Glendale football's traditional tribulations, players quitting and athletes in other sports being urged not to come out for football are all contributors to the lackluster numbers, according to Eberhart, a Glendale High graduate heading into his third year coaching the Nitros after a long and successful tenure as the Crescenta Valley head coach.

"It's pretty surprising," said junior Mike Davis, a starting wideout and safety. "We keep going up and down with the numbers. It's pretty frustrating."

Alas, Eberhart and Co. do not offer any solutions to the numbers problem, only begrudging acceptance and a willingness to move forward and improve despite statistical pitfalls.

"We're just gonna play with what we've got and do the best we can," Eberhart said. "We like our football team 11 on 11. If we can keep our 11 healthy and keep them rotated … I think we're OK."

The offense — headed by a trio of skill players — appears to be the Nitros' strength moving into the team's season opener against Hoover on Thursday at Moyse Field.

"Our offense is real good this year," Davis said. "We're a lot better than last year. We can run, we can pass."

Indeed, last year's Nitros favored a run-heavy approach that will remain in some supply, but Eberhart is hopeful that a passing game will open up.

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