Something new, old for Nitros

Over the course of a conversation between Glendale High football Coach Alan Eberhart and then-Hoover Coach Chris Long shortly after last season concluded, the two entertained a way for spicing up their team's respective 2011 schedules.

Eberhart and Long found common ground — opening the season against each other.

It was something that piqued Eberhart's interest, from a team and community standpoint.

Since 1930, the cross-town rivals have met during the final week of the season in "The Battle For the Victory Bell." Now, Glendale will meet Hoover twice, beginning at 7 p.m. Sept. 8 at Glendale High's Moyse Field in a designated nonleague game. The teams will hold their customary meeting during the final week of the season in a Pacific League contest Nov. 10 at the same venue.

Glendale will be the "road" team in week one and will be "home" team in week 10.

"There's always going to be that motivation playing Hoover," said Eberhart, whose team opened the previous two seasons against Cathedral before seeing the two-year agreement expire. "When you rebuild, it's important that your players believe they can win.

"It's hard when you are going up against strong teams, like Cathedral, to start a season. Hoover just happened to come up. You want to get your confidence going and, at the same time, get [fans] out there out of curiosity."

Glendale finished Eberhart's second season at 1-9 and 1-6 in league for seventh place. Glendale posted a 54-19 win against Hoover to claim the Victory Bell and city bragging rights.

For Eberhart, a Glendale graduate and former Nitros player, there's more than just playing Hoover. The Nitros will find out where they stand with two additional nonleague games before taking part in league.

"It should be about all of the games," Eberhart said. "You want to be getting better with each week and we were so much better by the end of last year.

"I think we had it all figured out. We are super simplistic and we have a lot of guys coming back."

After the first meeting with Hoover, Glendale will hit the road for a pair of nonleague road games.

Glendale will make a short trip to nearby La Cañada on Sept. 17 and South Pasadena on Sept. 24, respectively. Both games start at 7 p.m.

Last season, Glendale suffered a 40-17 loss to La Cañada and followed up with a 28-21 defeat against South Pasadena.

Eberhart said the Nitros will seek better results.

"La Cañada ran right at us last year and we had no answer," Eberhart said. "[La Cañada Coach Dan Yoder] has done a good job with that team.

"With South Pasadena, that's going to be another team that we will look to be able to compete with. I'm worried about how we can play and if we are any good. The first three games of the season will give us an indication going into league."

Glendale will begin league action at 7 p.m. Sept. 29 against visiting Burbank. The Bulldogs recorded a 56-8 win against the Nitros last season.

Eberhart said the Bulldogs figure to be different following the loss of several key players to graduation.

"They won't have the same team, but they have a good feeder program," Eberhart said. "We get one of the better teams right away."

Glendale will then take to the road against Pasadena at 7 p.m. Oct. 7.

Eberhart said the Pasadena contest might make for another good test for the Nitros.

"They also have a good team and one that we'll try to vie with for a top-four [playoff] spot," Eberhart said. "That's going to be another tough game for us."

Things figure to get even tougher for the Nitros, who will then meet Burroughs at 7 p.m. Oct. 13 at home. The Nitros suffered a 35-6 loss last season to Burroughs, which shared the league championship with Arcadia.

"They are the type of team that likes to come at you and just grind it out," Eberhart said. "We've played better against them the last two years."

Glendale will venture to Muir for a league game at 7 p.m. Oct. 21.

Eberhart said Muir has traditionally been an athletic team capable of ripping off big plays.

"We didn't see them over the summer," Eberhart said. "They have lots of speed, a good quarterback and consistency."

The Nitros will then take on the Arcadia Apaches, who Eberhart predicted is favored to win the league crown for a second straight season.

"They are loaded and they won our summer league passing tournament," Eberhart said. "Coach [Jon] Dimalante has been there the longest among the Pacific League coaches.

"His team is going to be a nightmare to play against."

Glendale will meet Crescenta Valley at 7 p.m. Nov. 4 at Moyse Field. Eberhart coached Crescenta Valley for parts of 14 seasons, winning five league championships and going 89-58-1, before coming to Glendale in 2009.

Eberhart said the sentiment coaching against Crescenta Valley, which topped Glendale, 35-14, last season, has since been eliminated.

"The emotion for me is out of it because the guys I coached [at Crescenta Valley] are now gone," Eberhart said. "Offensively, they are hard to deal with and they have a chance to make the playoffs, too.

"It will be interesting to see what directions both teams are going."

Last up for the Nitros will be Hoover.

"We'll have a big crowd for that game, I'm sure," Eberhart said. "We'll try to create some more excitement going into the game.

"We want to stay injury free. If we stay with it, we'll be OK."

2011 SCHEDULE

Sept. 8 vs. Hoover, 7 p.m.

Sept. 16 at La Cañada, 7 p.m.

Sept. 23 at South Pasadena, 7 p.m.

Sept. 29 vs. Burbank, 7 p.m.*

Oct. 7 at Pasadena, 7 p.m.*

Oct. 13 vs. Burroughs, 7 p.m.*

Oct. 21 at Muir, 7 p.m.*

Oct. 28 Arcadia, 7 p.m.*

Nov. 4 vs. Crescenta Valley, 7 p.m.*

Nov. 10 vs. Hoover, 7 p.m.*

*denotes Pacific League game

All home games at Moyse Field

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