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Glendale Tornados football ready to tackle another season

Pop Warner football organizations changes some things up, ready to open season Saturday.

August 23, 2013|By Edgar Melik-Stepanyan
  • Glendale Tornados complete drills during practice at Hoover High School in Glendale on Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2013.
Glendale Tornados complete drills during practice at… (Roger Wilson / Staff…)

GLENDALE — Still in his scrubs from his full-time job as a chiropractor in Arcadia, Robert Clarizio was at his second full-time gig, albeit a volunteer one.

Just after arriving at Hoover High, Clarizio helped set up practice lights for the football field, assisted in the snack shop, talked with coaches and took time to teach a youngster the proper tackling technique.

Across the field, the Glendale Tornados, a Pop Warner program, began warming up for practice. That meant that Clarizio was going to be at Hoover for at least another three hours, and by the time he went home, he would’ve had a 14-hour day.

As the first-year president of the Glendale Tornados, he has loved each part of his second job.

“It’s a lot of work, I’m still in uniform … but I love it,” said Clarizio, who took over the presidential duties from his brother, Andre, who moved on to serve as an assistant coach for the Hoover High football team.

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Clarizio is one of 20 volunteers who are organizing, coaching, mentoring and devoting their time to the Tornados, who kicks off their second year of existence with season-opening road games on Saturday.

The Tornadoes have signed up 70 players, approximately the same total as last year, and have enough players to field teams in the flag football Cub division (ages 5-7), as well as the tackling divisions of Mighty Mite (7-9) and Junior Pee Wee (8-10).

A year ago, the Glendale Tornados had a team in the Midget (12-14) division, but Clarizio and the rest of his coaches scrapped that idea for this season.

“We learned it’s probably more important to start these kids off at a younger age and build them into the program because Pop Warner is a very competitive league,” said Clarizio, a 1990 Hoover High graduate. “We could be very competitive by starting off young. We learned to focus on the younger teams so by the time that they are on the Midget team, they will have more years of experience.”

John Palma, the head coach of the Junior Pee Wee team who was an assistant on the Midget squad, has been part of a more organized effort from the Tornados.

“We know our place more now as far as the Pop Warner League,” said Palma, one of three former Hoover High students on the Junior Pee Wee coaching staff. “Last year was a huge disadvantage. The other teams we were playing against had been playing for six or eight years.

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