No plays off for Hoover High football's Andres Perez

Aside from a few water breaks, Andres Perez doesn’t often head to the sideline during a game.

Perez doesn’t have time since he’s quite busy handling a laundry list of responsibilities that include catching passes, breaking up passes and standing out on special teams for the Hoover High football team.

He’s done his job well and will look for one more complete effort when Hoover meets cross-town rival Glendale in the “Battle for the Victory Bell” at 7 p.m. Friday at Moyse Field.

“It can get tiring playing a lot and at so many positions,” said Perez, a senior. “It just comes down to being out there playing for your team and having some fun.

“You really can’t take plays off and that’s something I try to get across to my teammates. I know when I’m out there that I have to excel at every single spot.”

There’s no question Hoover will look to Perez for leadership when it tries to knock off Glendale for the first time since 2009. The Tornadoes have lost seven games in a row to drop to 2-7 and 0-6 in the Pacific League. The Nitros are 3-6, 1-5 and own a 49-33-2 advantage against Hoover in a rivalry that began in 1930.

For once, Perez would like to gather his teammates near midfield and ring the bell. For that to happen, Perez said, he’ll need to excel in all three facets of the game.

“You never know what it will come down to,” said Perez, who is a second-year varsity athlete. “We’ve had some tough times of late.

“The good thing is that we have a chance to go out on a winning note. Whenever you try your hardest, things will work out in the end. That’s what we would like to happen Friday.”

Perez said he’s up to the task. He had 55 receiving yards in Hoover’s 49-0 league defeat against visiting Burbank on Oct. 31. That came after he caught four passes for 91 yards and one touchdown in a 56-16 league loss versus Crescenta Valley on Oct. 25.

Perez’ best game came Oct. 4 in a 53-21 league loss against Arcadia. Perez accounted for all three Hoover touchdowns, the first on a 56-yard fumble return and the others on receptions of 80 and 20 yards from quarterback Se Jun Kim. He finished with four receptions for 122 yards and also had an interception.

For the season, Perez has caught 22 passes for 370 yards and a team-high four touchdowns. On defense, he’s registered 33 tackles. He’s served as Hoover’s punter and has also run back punts and kickoffs.

Perez has drawn plenty of praise, including some from Hoover first-year Coach Matt Andersen.

“He’s been so efficient all over the field,” said Andersen, a former star running back at Occidental College. “I didn’t know much about him after I took over the program, but I started to notice his commitment right away.

“He can do so many things well. He’s one of our leaders and he holds the team accountable for what’s going on out on the field.”

With a new coach on board, Perez said he had to prove himself again.

He caught Andersen’s attention almost immediately.

“I liked what I saw right away from Coach Andersen,’ Perez said. “He’s taught me a lot and he speaks to you knowing that you can get the job done.

“Things like that are so important. He’s a big believer at working hard at practice because then you will see the results in games. When you work hard at practice throughout the week, good things will add up.”

Hoover running back/outside linebacker Kenneth Traquena said Perez has been Hoover’s top playmaker throughout the season.

“He brings so much to the team with all the different things he can do,” Traquena said. “He’s not to be underestimated.

“He goes out there and uses his talent to his potential. We try to use him as much as we can. We know he doesn’t take any plays off.”

It’s unlikely Perez will shy away from the spotlight against Glendale.

He’s looking to thrive in what will be his final high school contest.

“Once the ball goes up in the air, you try to enjoy the moment and that’s exactly what I’m going to do,” Perez said. “The players aren’t going to have a hard time getting up for it.

“It would be nice to get a win. I know we will be prepared to put up a good fight. It’s time to go out there and leave with no regrets.”

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