Glendale faces tough road

With a new coach on board, the schedule will remain virtually the same for the Glendale High football team for the 2012 season, with one exception — the Nitros will not open their season against cross-town rival Hoover.

The Nitros and Tornadoes, who are members of the Pacific League, opened the 2011 season with a nonleague game, in addition to the traditional regular-season league finale between the rivals. The idea was hatched by Alan Eberhart and Chris Long, who were former coaches at Glendale and Hoover, respectively.

Under the direction of first-year Coach John Tuttle, who was hired Dec. 19, the Nitros will play their three nonleague games on the road before beginning league at home against Pasadena.

"I think it's going to be a good schedule for us," said Tuttle, a former quarterback at San Marino who will look to lead the Nitros to their first playoff appearance since 2003. "We are looking at our first three games being competitive and help us get ready for league, which will be tough.

"The good thing about starting the season on the road is that you can come together faster as a team."

Glendale, which went 2-8, 1-7 in league last season, will kick of its season Aug. 31 at La Salle. The Nitros will then participate in nonleague games against La Cañada and South Pasadena on Sept. 7 and 14, respectively. La Salle, La Cañada and South Pasadena did not qualify for the playoffs last season.

Tuttle, who previously held assistant coaching positions at San Marino, Temple City, Duarte and Monrovia, said he's familiar with all three nonleague teams and the environment each stadium offers.

"Against La Salle, it's a good place to play," Tuttle said. "It's going to be a chance to see certain guys step up and try to make a name for themselves.

"With La Cañada, they have always had disciplined teams and they always seem to be strong up front. South Pasadena was our big rival when I was at San Marino. They always have good athletes and that's a fun place to play a game."

Last season, Glendale suffered a 16-14 loss against La Cañada and suffered a 49-21 defeat to South Pasadena.

Tuttle said he's eager to see how the Nitros fare in their league opener Sept. 21 at Moyse Field against Pasadena, which advanced to the second round of the CIF Southern Section Southeast Division playoffs last season with athletic quarterback Brandon Cox, who has committed to the University of Arizona. Pasadena rallied in the final minute of last season's game for a 47-46 home victory.

"You know Cox will be good again and we are going to find out exactly where we stand," Tuttle said. "It will also be exciting to be at home for the first time and we hope to get a lot of people out to watch."

The Nitros will then make the short trek Sept. 27 to renovated Memorial Field to face Burroughs, which posted a 70-34 victory last season against the Nitros en route to sharing the league championship with Arcadia.

While the Indians lost several key players to graduation, including standout running back Zander Anding, Tuttle said the Indians will provide another stiff test under Coach Keith Knoop.

"You go from an athletic team like Pasadena to a big and physical team like Burroughs," Tuttle said. "You know going in that they are always going to be physical up front."

It doesn't figure to get any easier for the Nitros, who will then face Muir on Oct. 5 at Moyse Field and at Arcadia on Oct. 12.

The Mustangs picked up a 49-10 victory against Glendale last season and reached the Southeast Division semifinals. Arcadia blanked Glendale, 44-0, last season and will have a new coach in Long

"It's good to be playing them at home because they are normally a good home team," Tuttle said. "Any time you play Muir, you have to stay away from the big plays.

"With Chris being at Arcadia, it will be a good test because they always seem to have a nice mix of athletes."

Glendale will next face Crescenta Valley, which also qualified for the playoffs last season after posting a 49-3 win against Glendale, on Oct. 19 at Moyse Field.

Though Crescenta Valley graduated some starters, Tuttle said he expects the Falcons to reload.

"It's exciting to be playing a neighbor school," Tuttle said. "CV will be pretty young, but they are always good up front."

The Nitros will then take on Burbank on Oct. 25 at home. Tuttle said the Bulldogs figure to be in the mix battling for one of the league's top four automatic playoff spots.

"The people I've talked to say the Burbank will be tough," Tuttle said. "They always seem to have some quality athletes."

Last up for the Nitros will be Hoover in the "Battle for the Victory Bell" on Nov. 12 at Moyse Field. Glendale picked up a 55-49 victory against the Tornadoes in last season's meeting.

Tuttle said he is intrigued about being a part in the next chapter of the rivalry, as well as seeing more than 5,000 in attendance.

"It's everything you'd want from the players on both teams being excited to having the best crowd of the season," Tuttle said. "You want to see everything turn out right for your team and you have all that pride."

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