Rumors have circulated in recent weeks that the Blair High football team might not be quite ready to go when the season begins.
The whispers have also reached second-year Hoover Coach Andrew Policky, whose Tornadoes would be without an opponent on Friday night if the Vikings don't have enough players to field a squad for both teams' season opener scheduled for 7 p.m. at Muir High.
"I'm not sure whether or not they're going to have a team, I've heard they might just have JV," Policky said of Blair. "I'm not 100% sure whether or not we're going to have a game. We're going to have to find out what their plans are."
For his part, first-year Blair Coach Johnny Lopez told the Pasadena Sun that any talk of his team not being ready to play Hoover on Friday is unsubstantiated.
"We're here. It's like I've been saying. I've been preparing the team and I've been getting them ready for the season," said Lopez, who takes over a team that went 1-9 last season and has lost nine in a row. "We've got enough players for Hoover and whoever else we're going to play. The game is a definite now and it's always been a definite."
Regardless, Policky, whose team went 0-10 last season and has lost its last 17 games, said Hoover is ready with a backup plan should Blair fail to get its program off the ground.
Policky said that instead of taking its bye week on Aug. 31, Hoover would simply begin its season one week later at 7 p.m. Aug. 31 at Muir against Marshall Fundamental, which is currently slated to face Blair on the same date.
In a departure from previous seasons, in which Hoover has faced teams such as Mountain View, Sierra Vista and even Pacific League rival Glendale in nonleague play, this season was to see the debut of an All-Rio Hondo League nonleague slate of Blair, South Pasadena and Temple City.
Marshall, a member of the Alpha League, opens its season Friday against Duarte after going 1-9 last year with a string of eight losses to end the season.