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Sports

Looking Back: Hoover football, boys’ water polo make most noise during 2018-19 campaign

Water polo at Hoover High.
Hoover High boys’ water polo coach Kevin Witt is pulled into the pool by his team after defeating Arcadia to win the Pacific League championship.
(Tim Berger / Staff Photographer)

This is the latest in a series looking back on the sports accomplishments of the area high schools during the 2018-19 year. This installment is Hoover High:

A couple of story lines highlighted the 2018-19 season for the Tornadoes, who saw their football team forfeit part of the season before deciding not to field a varsity squad for the next two years.

The boys’ water polo team won its second straight Pacific League championship in the last three season under coach Kevin Witt. The water polo squad was the only team at Hoover to qualify for the postseason.

The biggest story to unfold involved the football team.

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Hoover opened its season with a 13-12 nonleague home win against La Cañada and followed with five straight losses until the team forfeited its final four games after an on-campus brawl ensued Oct. 3 and involved multiple members of the football squad. In addition, several members of the coaching staff were placed on administrative leave before being cleared to return.

Hoover then forfeited Pacific League games against Pasadena, Burroughs, Crescenta Valley, as well as the annual “Battle for the Victory Bell” contest against cross-town rival Glendale — a rivalry that began in 1930.

Heading into the week of the rivalry contest, the Glendale Unified School District agreed to let Glendale and Hoover play in the homecoming contest. However, the game was scrapped less than three hours before kickoff, with the district citing safety concerns.

The district issued a statement that read; “We understand that sentiments around this game run deep and, while it was our wish that our students were able to finish the season on the field, we will not run the risk of hosting an event with threats of disruption that potentially puts all involved at risk.”

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In May, the district confirmed that Hoover would not field a varsity football team for the 2019 season. The decision seemingly stemmed from a lack of interest and low numbers within the Tornadoes’ program.

According to a district press release: “In order to give these new recruits time to build their strength and skill level, Hoover will field a Freshman/Sophomore team this fall. Hoover plans to grow into Junior Varsity in fall 2020 and have a competitive Varsity program by fall 2021.”

The Tornadoes haven’t qualified for the CIF Southern Section playoffs since 1987, which was the last year the program registered a winning record.

In water polo, Hoover (18-8, 8-0 in league) had another impressive season. The Tornadoes won its second Pacific League title in the last three seasons after posting a 15-5 win against Arcadia in the league’s tournament title match. Standout David Ashkharian finished with six goals for the Tornadoes.

In the CIF Southern Section Division III playoffs, Hoover earned a 17-12 first-round win against Santa Ynez. Ashkharian led Hoover with five goals, while Jordan Corpuz and Hakop Ansuryan each recorded three goals

Hoover’s season concluded with a 6-5 defeat versus No. 2 seed Northwood.


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