First published in the Oct. 9 print issue of the Glendale News Press.
By winning their first five football games of the season, the Hoover Tornados were off to their best start since 1953.
However, as the saying goes, all good things must come to an end.
In game number six, the Tornados hosted Castaic High and proved no match for the Coyotes, who posted a 48-6 nonleague victory last Friday evening on campus at Herbert Hoover High.
“I hope this is a lesson. I think we were complacent after being 5-0,” Hoover coach Azad Herabidian said.
Hoover (5-1 record) is playing its first varsity games since 2018. Similarly, Castaic High School and its football program are just three years old, and this season marks the first time the Coyotes have faced varsity opponents. Last week’s loss to Lancaster Paraclete was Castaic’s first varsity game ever, making Friday’s win over the Tornados the school’s first-ever varsity win.
Castaic (1-1 record) featured a balanced offense, but the heavy lifting was done by running back Anthony Martinez. The junior was used strategically, allowing him to stay fresh. He had touchdowns on five of his eight touches, scoring on special teams, on the ground and as a receiver.
Martinez finished with six carries for 224 yards and three touchdowns. He hauled in one pass for 45 yards and a touchdown. In the first half alone, the junior had 295 all-purpose yards and four scores. The Tornados were just not able to bring Martinez down, despite often being positioned to do so.
“The key is just to keep going,” Martinez said. “I always tell myself that no one is going to take me down and I’ll find myself in the end zone.”
It did not help that Hoover was down several players due to injury.
“Right now we are the most hurt we’ve been in terms of in terms of injuries and guys out,” Herabidian said. “It’s a situation where we are putting a lot of young guys in positions they don’t know what to do in. We [were] also playing a very well-coached team, obviously.”
The tone was set early when Martinez fielded the opening kickoff and weaved his way down the field for an 85-yard return touchdown.
After a three-and-out by the Tornados on their first possession, Martinez took the handoff on Castaic’s first snap and ran 46 yards to the 3-yard line. However, after that the Hoover defense made a goal line stand, taking over on downs at the 7-yard line.
After Hoover fumbled a handoff on the next possession, Martinez soon turned the miscue into points with a 39-yard touchdown run.
On their next possession, the Coyotes fumbled the ball away. Soon after, Hoover turned that takeaway into points with the highlight of the night for the hosts. On a designed quarterback run, starter Ethan Davis ran the ball left and sprinted away for a 68-yard rushing touchdown. Martinez then blocked the PAT kick.
Davis finished with seven carries for 119 yards, not including the 18 yards lost on four sacks. Through the air, Davis and backup Giovanni Vartanyan combined to go three of 20 for 74 yards. Samvel Mamalashvili had two catches for 47 yards. Daniel Rangel had one grab for 27 yards.
Castaic had scored 27 points in the second quarter and it was 41-6 at the break. This prompted a running clock for the entirety of the second half, in which the only points came on a 55-yard touchdown run by Martinez that put him over 300 all-purpose yards.
“It was a tough challenge and we didn’t rise to the occasion,” Herabidian said.