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Glendale Unified calls for spirit event, not rivalry football make-up game

Glendale Unified calls for spirit event, not rivalry football make-up game
Glendale Unified Supt. Winfred Roberson Jr., addressing Hoover students during a walkout, confirmed there will be no make-up homecoming football game between Glendale and Hoover highs, but the district is looking at other ways to honor a tradition that dates back to 1930. (Tim Berger / Glendale News-Press)

Talks of a rescheduled football game were halted by Glendale Unified school officials more than a month after the cancellation of the historic “Battle for the Victory Bell” homecoming contest between rivals Glendale and Hoover high schools.

District Supt. Winfred Roberson Jr. confirmed Thursday morning that there will be no make-up game, but the district is looking at other ways to supplement a tradition that dates back to 1930.

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“Unfortunately, rescheduling a competitive game after the season is not that simple,” Roberson said in an email. “The student-athletes have already turned in their gear and have not practiced in weeks.”

He added, “Many of the football players are currently participating in their winter sport or practicing for their spring sport. A full-contact contest is not safe and/or practical at this late date.”

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Roberson did say it was the district’s intent to have some sort of activity, though no timeline or update on those plans were given. Some ideas previously floated were a flag football contest or a spirit competition that would include the schools’ bands.

“To meet this goal, Hoover, Glendale and CV high schools’ administrators are collectively exploring other possible spirit events to bring our students and school communities together,” Roberson said.

The CIF Southern Section football regular season concluded Oct. 27. The Glendale-Hoover game, set to be played Oct. 25, was called off 2½ hours before kickoff out of safety concerns.

The game was the final of four cancellations for Hoover High, which never played another contest after an on-campus brawl on Oct. 3 led to police involvement and more than a dozen student suspensions.

While Glendale’s homecoming dance took place Nov. 3 and Hoover’s has been rescheduled for Dec. 20, those actions were not enough for many in the community.

More than 200 Hoover students walked out of classes on Oct. 29 in protest over the cancellation of the football game and homecoming festivities.

More recently, an online petition on change.org was forwarded to Roberson on Nov. 9 with more than 1,500 signatures from those calling for the game’s rescheduling.

Part of the petition read, “By signing this, Hoover and Glendale High football players are agreeing to not alter jerseys (tape, writing, tearing, etc.), adhere to all rules, and respect the rules of the game as if this were a CIF-regulated game. Further, there will be no disruptions of any kind from anyone on either team.”

The statement added, “This will start the healing process for both students and parents and place our community back on a positive path. This will be a night we can all come together and celebrate.”

“The board and administration both appreciate the petitioners’ enthusiasm for a game and their support to help the community heal,” Roberson said. “Bringing the community together is a shared goal of both the GUSD and the petitioners.”

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