HomeBlocksFront-GridGlendale Edges Hoover in Final Play Thriller

Glendale Edges Hoover in Final Play Thriller

First published in the Oct. 29 print issue of the Glendale News-Press.

Hollywood couldn’t have scripted a more exciting ending to the traditional Battle of the Bell football game than what happened on Thursday night at Glendale High School’s Moyse Field.
In what was almost certainly one of the most thrilling encounters in this series’ 82-game history, previously winless Glendale High pulled off an astonishing 18-13 upset over Hoover High with a Hail Mary touchdown pass on the game’s final play. Glendale senior quarterback Justin Melville heaved a 36-yard pass which was caught by a leaping Daniel Autrev in the endzone as time expired. He didn’t even have a chance to stand up before a mob of Nitros teammates swarmed the receiver after his game-winning catch.
“We needed a miracle. I don’t know how we avoided the sack but we got the ball off and Daniel [Autrev], who never played football before, made the play,” said Glendale head coach Jacob Ochoa, whose team claimed the rivalry bell for the second consecutive season. “We haven’t been able to make a pass over 5 yards for three or four weeks and in the biggest moment for the bell, we made the pass. I am so proud of our guys fighting. I know the record but this game means so much to us and I am so happy we get to celebrate.”
The Tornados had just scored the go-ahead touchdown with 39 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter, overcoming a 12-0 deficit while claiming their first lead of the game by a one-point margin.
But Autrev took matters into his own hands — literally — to secure Glendale’s first victory of the season.
Autrev returned a kickoff by Hoover’s Daniel Baneham all the way to the Tornados’ 31-yard line. A pair of incomplete passes and a delay of game penalty moved the Nitros out of field goal range on 3rd-and-15 at Hoover’s 36-yard line, setting the stage for the Melville-to-Autrev connection.
“I just wanted to win; I didn’t want to let anybody down,” Autrev said. “It felt amazing being in that pile, seeing my family happy and seeing everybody that loves and supports me happy. These nine hard weeks of just losing, losing, losing, and people telling us we can’t do it, that we’re going to be a 0-10 team — it feels amazing just to win a game and prove everyone wrong.”
The Glendale defense held Hoover scoreless until the opening drive of the fourth quarter. Junior quarterback Ethan Davis connected with junior Joseph Dizon on a 17-yard pass to get the Tornados in the red zone and a fresh set of downs at the 10-yard mark. Davis found sophomore Javon Lynom on a 10-yard pass in the endzone to get Hoover on the board, while Baneham’s PAT trimmed Glendale’s lead to 12-7.
The game’s momentum nearly shifted on Hoover’s ensuing drive. A perfectly executed lateral pass from Davis to senior Daniel Rangel befuddled the Nitros’ defense and presented a wide-open opportunity for Rangel to connect with sophomore Joel Jauregui in the endzone. However, instead of taking the lead, Hoover was smacked with a 5-yard illegal shift penalty, sending it back to Glendale’s 40-yard line. The Tornados couldn’t make up the lost ground and were forced to punt, giving Glendale possession with just over four minutes remaining in the third quarter.
Hoover eventually hit paydirt and briefly took the lead when Davis scored on a 1-yard carry later in the quarter.
“That was a nice little drive. Not sure how it got confused that we were trying to kick a PAT there because we were trying to go for two,” Hoover head coach Azad Herabidian said. “That was a screw-up but other than that it was a good drive and it was obviously exciting; it felt like we were going to win the game there.”
Glendale took an early 6-0 lead on its first drive of the game when junior quarterback Jonathan Anava tossed a 15-yard touchdown to Melville. A Hoover penalty before Glendale senior Paolo Sosa’s PAT attempt let the Nitros try for a two-point conversion; however senior Ethan Faria was stopped by Hoover senior Vaghinak Sakanyan at the 1-yard line.
The Nitros added a second score on their opening drive of the second half. It took just shy of three minutes and six total plays for the drive to end with a 7-yard rushing touchdown by Anava to make it a 12-0 game.
The Tornados had an opportunity to shift the tide of the game in the third quarter when sophomore Jonathan Manukyan recovered a fumble at Hoover’s 13-yard line. A hard defensive hit knocked the ball out of the hands of Faria and just before it rolled out of play, Manukyan flopped on the ball and regained possession in Hoover’s favor after just three plays by Glendale.
Glendale has the edge over Hoover in the Battle of the Bell series with a 46-35-1 record. The series debuted in 1930 but the game wasn’t played in 1944 and 2018-20, while results for 1996-97 and 2000-03 were not available.
The Nitros concluded the regular season 1-9 overall and will look to defend the bell in next year’s traditional rivalry game. Meanwhile, the Tornados (7-3 overall) will look to build off their second consecutive winning season with hopes of competing in CIF playoffs in the future. Hoover hasn’t won the Battle of the Bell game since 2017 and will look to reclaim the bell next year.

GLENDALE

The Nitros previously lost a nonleague game against visiting viewpoint High of Calabasas, 10-7. Sophomore Joseph Caballero rushed for 59 yards on 12 carries, Faria rushed for 27 yards on five carries and added a 7-yard reception, and senior Mateo Gutierrez rushed for 25 yards on three carries. Melville completed a pair of passes for 10 yards, while senior Isaac Quiroz a 3-yard catch.

HOOVER

The Tornados previously reentered the win column and snapped a two-game losing streak by defeating visiting North Hollywood, 21-16, in a nonleague game.
Freshman Aj Francisco completed 9-of-13 passes for 143 yards and a pair of touchdowns, while Rangel and sophomore Davion Holloway each made three catches for 46 yards and a touchdown. Baneham rushed for 4 yards and a touchdown on one carry, went 3-for-3 in PAT attempts, and added four tackles and a fumble recovery on defense.
Senior Andrew Torres rushed for a game-high 102 yards on 18 carries. Dizon had a pair of receptions for 44 yards and made three tackles on defense, while senior Cedric Lynum rushed for 32 yards on eight carries. Sophomore Javon Lymon rushed for 20 yards on five carries and made six tackles on defense, while Jauregui made a 5-yard catch and added six tackles on defense.
Junior Isaac Perez racked up a game-high 10 tackles and a fumble recovery, while juniors Roberto Zegarra and Reyes Felix Jr. each registered five tackles. Senior Frank Higginbotham lll had three tackles and an interception, Jonathan Manukyan made three tackles, and senior Benjamin Manukyan and junior Anderson Thombs each recorded two tackles.

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