Something’s in the air or the water, because remarkable as it sounds, Hoover High’s football team has won its first two games, which hasn’t happened since 2005.
This feat is truly amazing given that the Tornadoes have been the laughing stock of the Pacific League for some time, but this past Friday night’s 33-28 nonleague victory overSouth Pasadenaat Moyse Field may have changed all that.
Hoover’s offensive line and the overall play of senior quarterback Brendon Kerr were essential, but it was senior running back Jesse Pina’s five touchdowns, including three in the opening half that stood out as the Tornadoes (408 total net yards) pulled ahead 20-14 at the half.
Pina’s two-yard burst on fourth and goal with 1:59 showing in the fourth quarter gaveHoover(2-0) a five-point lead.
“This feels awesome,” said Pina, who rushed for a game-best 171 yards on 18 carries, and accounted for five runs over 10 yards with a long of 77, and had three catches for 59 yards. “I have a feeling thisHooverteam can go far. This team worked really hard over the summer.”
Hoover Head Coach Andrew Policky singled out Pina’s exploits. “He was a man playing with boys,” he said. “We kept feeding him the ball.”
Pina’s one-yard run with 5:47 left in the third quarter pushed Hoover’s advantage to 27-14, before South Pasadena quarterback David Madrid’s scamper up the middle early in the final quarter cut the lead to 27-21.
The Tigers (1-1) had one final possession that began at their 36-yard line, but it fizzled eight plays later at theHoover24 whenMadrid(nine of 18 for 150 yards and no interceptions) saw his pass fall incomplete.
“We didn’t play a perfect game by any means,” said Policky, “but we played well enough. We’re going to get better, and we have a chance to win maybe four games.”
Hoover’s 8-0 lead with 3:30 left in the first quarter came after Pina scored from three yards out, and Kerr (nine of 13 for 112 yards and no picks) ran in the two-point conversion.
AfterMadrid’s 61-yard strike to Hector Fernandez (97 yards and four receptions) made it 8-7 with 1:56 left in the initial quarter, Pina made it 14-7 after scoring on a three-yard run and 8:43 left in the second quarter.
South Pasadena(315 total yards) leveled it at 14-14 on Nathan Lee’s nine-yard romp and just over five minutes remaining before the intermission, but Pina’s three-yard bolt with 3:53 showing made it 20-14.
Lee’s 73-yard punt return put the Tigers in front 28-27 with 8:23 left in the fourth quarter.