"He's the reason why I play the sport today because he introduced me to it," said Alex, whose team enters today's Pacific League game against Glendale at 0-9, 0-6 in league. "He's worked with me real hard ever since I first started throwing the ball.
"He told me it was the best feeling beating Glendale as a senior, and, if you win the game, that you are going to be remembered."
Rangel will strap on the helmet one last time for the Tornadoes and look to ring the bell at midfield with jubilant teammates surrounding him.
The Nitros (1-8, 0-6) are 48-33-2 all-time against Hoover and it's the first time since 1937 that the teams will have played twice in a single season. Glendale, which posted a 54-19 victory against Hoover last season to regain possession of the bell, opened this season Sept. 8 with a 20-6 nonleague win against Hoover in which Rangel completed 12 of 20 passes for 147 yards.
"There's always going to be a lot of motivation and pressure when you play against Glendale," Rangel said. "It's my last game.
"You want to be able to handle the pressure and lead your team to victory and bring the bell home."
Though the defeats have piled up for the Tornadoes — they have lost 16 games in a row — Rangel has shown marked improved each week under the direction of first-year Coach Andrew Policky. Policky took over the team in the spring from Chris Long after serving the previous three seasons as Hoover's defensive coordinator.
Under Long, the Tornadoes operated in a spread offense. With Policky calling the shots, the Tornadoes have switched to a West Coast offense.
He's reaped the benefits from adjusting to the new formation, including completing 14 of 24 passes for 140 yards and one touchdown in a 42-14 league loss against Burroughs on Nov. 3.