What separated Arcadia High from Hoover at the half was 13 points, but a 26-point outburst in the second half tilted the scales in favor of the Apaches, who strolled to a 53-21 Pacific League victory last Friday night.
Arcadia Head Coach Andrew Policky, who led Hoover’s football team for five seasons, was asked if returning was tough.
“I didn’t talk about it to my kids,’’ he said. “It was nice coming back and seeing a lot of the players I coached. I didn’t want to make it about me. It feels good to win. We’re trying to get better each week.”
Running back Nico Cantos (89 yards on eight carries) had a 21-yard sprint in the second quarter with 4:20 left that gave visiting Arcadia (414 total net yards) a 27-14 advantage.
Cantos’ two-yard trot as time expired in the third quarter propelled the Apaches to a 47-14 bulge that capped a 53-yard march.
Tailback Joshua Benson (game-high 106 yards on 13 carries) scored from three yards out and 7:06 left in the third quarter as the Apaches (3-2 and 1-1 in league) jumped ahead 34-14, and Benson’s five-yarder early in the final quarter made it 53-14, and came after Hoover quarterback Se Jun Kim (five of 13 for 130 yards) was intercepted.
Robbie Hillier’s 82-yard punt return pushed Arcadia’s lead to 41-14 with 4:17 showing in the third quarter.
“We just have to finish the game,’’ said first-year Hoover Head Coach Matt Andersen, whose club had 237 total yards. “We don’t have any depth right now. We’re missing nine players. Six are injured and three are out academically.”
Arcadia quarterback Joey Harmon (11 of 17 for 148 yards and a pick) added a one-yard sneak with 5:55 left in the first quarter that made it 7-0 and closed a 61-yard march, and his 11-yard toss to wide receiver Kevin Luong with 6:10 remaining in the second quarter gave the Apaches a 20-7 lead.
Hoover (2-3 and 0-2) tied it at 7-7 with 3:33 left in the opening quarter when wide receiver Mark Pachorek (78 yards and four catches) snared a two-yard pass only to fumble which was scooped up by defensive back Andres Perez who brought it back 56 yards for a touchdown.
The Tornadoes crawled within 20-14 and 5:57 left before halftime when Kim hit Perez (four catches for 122 yards) with an 80-yard bomb.
Kim moved Hoover 92 yards on 13 plays and found Perez with a 20-yard pass as 1:01 remained in the final stanza that cut Arcadia’s lead to 32 points.