The various anomalies in the Hoover High football team's 2011 schedule include an abundance of home games, more Thursday night games than ever before and a double dose of civic rivalry.
The latter is the most notable difference from previous Tornadoes' campaigns, as for the first time ever, the regular season will kick off exactly the same way as it customarily ends — with a clash against archrival Glendale.
"It's interesting, it will be a fun way to kick off our season and get everybody going," said first-year Hoover Coach Andrew Policky, who took over for Chris Long in March when the schedule had already been arranged. "Hopefully we can get a nice turnout for that first game. It should be fun for the kids to get to play their rival twice. That part of it is cool."
The Tornadoes, who went 1-9 and 0-7 in the Pacific League last season, will be visitors on their home field at Glendale High's Moyse Field for a nonleague matchup against the Nitros at 7 p.m. on Sept. 8, the first of five total Thursday games on the docket. Rather than replacing the November classic "Battle for the Victory Bell," this meeting previews it, as the league season concludes with the finale of a two-game set with the Nitros at 7 p.m. Thursday Nov. 10 at Moyse.
Due to holidays and scheduling conflicts at Moyse Field, which is shared by three high schools in the school district, the Tornadoes will play half of their 10 regular season games on Thursdays, whereas in past seasons, no more than one or two Thursday games would typically dot the schedule.
"The one thing that's tough this year is that I noticed is that we have a whole bunch of Thursday games," Policky said. "That's going to pose an interesting quirk in terms of how we're going to practice. Those weeks, Saturday will be our install day and we'll come and go Monday offense and Tuesday defense and then come in Wednesday and have our walk-through and Friday will be a day where we lift and break down tape from the previous night's game."
Working more in Hoover's favor is the five home games the team will play, with two other road dates being played at Moyse Field. In fact, the Tornadoes will play just one of their seven league games away from Moyse.
"I don't know why it worked out like that," Policky said. "I'm not sure why we play five home games in our league. It will be a nice advantage for us this season. I hope it's not something next year where we're playing seven road games, but that should definitely be an advantage for us. It's always nice to play at home and be in a routine that you're used to and not have to get on that bus and travel to somebody else's field."
Still, the Tornadoes' official home opener won't be played until the third week of the season, after a week two Friday game at traditional nonleague foe South Pasadena at 7 p.m. Sept. 16.
"South Pasadena's interesting, they have a new head coach over there, too," Policky said of the Tigers, who were 31-25 winners in last year's meeting. "In terms of what they're doing offensively and defensively, it's going to be a little bit different."
Hoover's only win last season came at Mountain View, 45-38, and the Tornadoes will once again face the Vikings in week three, this time at home at 7 p.m. Thursday Sept. 22 before heading into league play the following week.
"Mountain View poses some different challenges for us with what they do offensively," Policky said. "They will be a couple of good games that prepare us well for our [league] season."
League play kicks off at 7 p.m. Friday Sept. 30 at Moyse against intra-district rival Crescenta Valley before the Tornadoes continue with 7 p.m. home dates against Burbank on Thursday Oct. 6 and Muir on Friday Oct. 14.
"We've got to play them all anyway," Policky said. "The first one against CV is a big game because it kind of kicks off our league schedule and it's a battle for the city championship. That will be a good test for us right out of the gate."
On Friday Oct. 21, the reigning league co-champion Arcadia Apaches visit Moyse Field in a game that will hold some extra significance for Policky, who played and previously coached at Arcadia.
"Playing those guys will always be fun for me personally," Policky said. "But we're going to try to treat every game exactly the same and that means trying not to get too excited for any one more than the other."
The schedule concludes with a Friday away game at Pasadena at 7 p.m. Oct. 28 before league co-champ Burroughs visits the Tornadoes at 7 p.m. Thursday Nov. 3.
Hoover will then wrap up the league schedule against the Nitros, who sent the Tornadoes into the offseason with a crushing 54-19 loss for their only win of the campaign last year.
Sept. 8 vs. Glendale, 7 p.m.
Sept. 16 at South Pasadena, 7 p.m.
Sept. 22 vs. Mountain View, 7 p.m.
Sept. 30 vs. Crescenta Valley, 7 p.m.*
Oct. 6 vs. Burbank, 7 p.m.*
Oct. 14 vs. Muir, 7 p.m.*
Oct. 21 vs. Arcadia, 7 p.m.*
Oct. 27 at Pasadena, 7 p.m.*
Nov. 3 vs. Burroughs, 7 p.m.*
Nov. 10 at Glendale, 7 p.m.
*denotes Pacific League game
All home games at Moyse Field