A new era has begun for the Hoover High football team with the addition of coach Matt Andersen.
Andersen, who was named coach May 14 after previously serving as an assistant at alma mater Occidental College, said he’s eager to see what the Tornadoes have learned through summer practice sessions.
The Tornadoes will play nearly an identical schedule to that of 2012, with the exception of one game. Six of Hoover’s games will be played at Glendale High’s Moyse Field, with Hoover being the home team for five contests.
“It’s the schedule that we inherited and you try your best to make the most of it and see different things,” said Andersen, who took over the program from Andrew Policky. “It’s a new year and anything can happen.”
Hoover will be put to the test when it kicks off its season with a zero week nonleague home contest against Blair at 7 p.m. Aug. 30 at Moyse Field.
Hoover posted a 46-0 road win against Blair last season.
“With a zero week game, you get to start earlier,” said Andersen, who was a standout running back at Occidental. “You get a good idea right away where you are.”
The Tornadoes, who went 3-7 and 1-6 in the Pacific League for last place last season, will then make a short trek to Los Angeles to face Sotomayor, a first-year City Section program, in an intersection contest at 7 p.m. Sept. 6.
Nonetheless, Andersen said it’s a game in which Hoover can’t afford to take lightly.
“We will still be working on things to help us get better,” Andersen said. “You never know what to expect when facing a first-year team, so we have to be prepared like we are playing anybody else.”
Hoover will close out the nonleague portion of its schedule with a road contest against South Pasadena at 7 p.m. Sept. 13. The Tornadoes notched a 33-28 home win against the Tigers last season.
“It’s another game where we will look to compete and we expect another good game,” Andersen said.
Hoover will then have a bye the following week.
Andersen said the week off will afford him and the Tornadoes an opportunity to make personnel evaluations, while also healing from injuries and getting prepared to navigate their way through league.
Hoover will begin league with a home game at 7 p.m. Sept. 26 against Muir, which won the league championship last season. Muir topped Hoover, 63-0, last season at home.
“Any time you are able to play at home and soak up the atmosphere, it’s a good thing,” Andersen said. “Muir has a real good program.”
Hoover will remain at home the following week. The Tornadoes will meet Arcadia and former coach Policky at 7 p.m. Oct. 4. Policky coached the Tornadoes the past two seasons, leading them to their most victories in a season since 2005 last year.
“It will be another good test for us,” Andersen said.
The Tornadoes fell, 49-6, to the Apaches on the road last season.
Hoover will then go on a two-game road trip, beginning at 7 p.m. Oct. 11 against Pasadena. Hoover’s lone league win last season came against Pasadena, as it recorded a 37-8 decision.
Hoover will then meet Burroughs at 7 p.m. Oct. 17. Burroughs earned a 42-13 win against Hoover last year.
Hoover will then play its final three games at Moyse. The Tornadoes will first meet rival Crescenta Valley at 7 p.m. Oct. 25.
Crescenta Valley blocked a game-winning field goal attempt by Hoover in the final minute of last season’s meeting.
“I’m expecting to have another good game against them,” Andersen said. “You know there will also be a good crowd.”
Hoover will then face Burbank at 7 p.m. Oct. 31. The Bulldogs topped the Tornadoes, 48-7, last season.
“They like to run the ball the ball a lot,” Andersen said. “I can see that being a good, physical game.”
The Tornadoes will then close out the regular season at 7 p.m. Nov. 8 against cross-town rival Glendale in the “Battle for the Victory Bell.”
Glendale recorded a lopsided 44-13 win last season to establish bragging rights.
Andersen said it’s a game that should bring out the best of both squads, highlighted with a large crowd flocking to Moyse.
“You always look forward to the game against your rival,” Andersen said. “Rivalry games are what football is all about.
“We know it will be a great atmosphere and the kids will be excited about it.”