High School Football
Falling behind and then rallying makes the task monumental. That’s the case even for a strong team, which Hoover High’s isn’t.
Trailing at the half and after three quarters, the spunky Tornadoes refused to wilt, charging within six points, but ultimately dropping a Pacific League decision to Arcadia, 42-28, last Friday night at Moyse Field.
There are no moral victories, but this comes close. Hoover went winless in 2007 and 2008, and fell behind, 21-6, at halftime, but mounted a furious fourth quarter onslaught that moved the Tornadoes within 34-28 and 6:03 left in the final quarter, after quarterback A.J. Pule’s 26-yard pass found wide receiver Elvis Fuentes (six catches for 99 yards).
“Knowing that we were down, we had to be intense and play hard in the second half,’’ said Pule, who finished 11 of 22 for 190 yards with one touchdown. “I was in pain [injured right thumb in the first half], but I had 30 other guys depending on me.’’
There was enough time, but the Hoover (1-8 and 0-6 in league) defense had to make a stand.
The Apaches (2-6-1 and 2-4 in league) took over at their own 22, and after two passes from backup quarterback Myles Carr to wide receiver Taylor Legace covered 17 yards, third down and 24 eventually loomed.
But Carr (nine of nine for 181 yards and two scoring passes) dropped back, and hit running back David Maldonado with a screen pass, and he danced 68 yards for the score, giving Arcadia a 14-point bulge as 2:01 remained.
On Hoover’s final possession, Pule (38 rushing yards on eight carries) drilled wide receiver Dymond McRae with a 57-yard pass.
Pule then tossed two incomplete passes, and rushed for eight yards. On fourth and two, Pule wasn’t able to locate a receiver.
“It was sad because we lost, and we had it in our grasp,’’ said Pule. “Everybody gave it their all.”
The Apaches usually display a sleek running attack, but this season’s edition isn’t up to standards.
Arcadia was out-rushed, 174 yards to 94, but with Legace catching 11 passes for 153 yards, including first-half touchdowns of 23, 48 and 19 yards, they offset a lackluster running game.
Hoover Head Coach Chris Long was also down. “We haven’t given up,’’ he said, “but we couldn’t fumble and allow the long ball, which we did.”
Hoover (364 total yards) fumbled twice in the opening half, once by Pule and once by Devaughn Williams, who scored on a 16-yard reverse with just under eight minutes left in the fourth quarter to make it 34-21.
Running back Ivan Tello had 130 yards on 19 carries, including a three-yard sprint with 4:09 left in the first quarter that gave the Tornadoes a brief 6-0 lead, and a 21-yard dash that trimmed Arcadia’s lead to 27-13 with 2:38 showing in the third quarter.
Arcadia quarterback Garrett Tuck was 12 of 16 for 164 yards, with two touchdown passes.