If you play them, will anybody still show up?

September 14, 2011|By Grant Gordon,

"The administration's been great. They've given me everything I've wanted. They just can't give me what I need; more players, community support, they don't have that power. … It's the weirdest thing I've been through as a coach. Where's the passion?"

Alan Eberhart

Glendale High football coach

If a football game is played at Moyse Field and no one is around to watch it, does it make a sound?

It's a provocative quandary, considering it's happened all too often over the course of way too many past fall seasons.

A week ago, the latest chapter in the hopeful stimulation of the Glendale and Hoover High football programs took place on a clear, Thursday evening at Glendale High.


Nine weeks ahead of all the pomp and circumstance, balloons and ballyhoo, homecoming and hoopla, the Nitros and Tornadoes began their let's-play-two venture with nothing more at stake than … well, let's get to that later.

But, much like the whole idea of the Tornadoes and Nitros locking helmets twice a year, the success of the game after all was said and done differs depending on who you talk to.

The Glendale stands — those of the visitors on Thursday — were likely 75-80% full, while the Hoover faithful's support was still rather lacking. Was it more than that of one of the team's average nonleague affairs or even Pacific League tussles? Sure. But it was far from what an average Southern California football program would draw for an average game, much less against its archrival and much less for a contest with such a novel concept and note of history.

Alas, in telling the tale of the first-ever, first-week, Glendale-Hoover football game, it's likely one should grade on a curve or, perhaps, take into careful consideration the struggling status of both programs. If nothing more, this game was two coaches taking a shot at trying something new to revive programs long ago lost in a losing culture.

In the wake of another combined 2-18 season for the Hoover and Glendale football teams, Nitros frontman Alan Eberhart and then-Hoover jefe Chris Long got together and came up with the idea — intriguing to some, controversial and perplexing to others — to not only conclude their seasons with the annual "Battle for the Victory Bell" rivalry clash, but begin their seasons with a rivalry game, as well.

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