Hope through the storm

Freshman AJ Francisco comes to the rescue for the Hoover football team.


By Cedric Lynum and Breann Pimenta

Not all hope is lost for the Hoover football team with the success of freshman quarterback AJ Francisco. 

Francisco got his chance to play his first varsity football game on Friday as the starting quarterback. And the freshman delivered in a big way, leading Hoover to a 21-16 victory against North Hollywood at Glendale High.

Francisco is no stranger to quarterback as he was the starting JV quarterback but the question that ran through everyone’s mind was if he was ready to perform on the varsity level. 

“Coach’s Stark simplified the game plan for him and worked on his read progressions all week,” Hoover Coach Azad Herabidian said. “Plus he had played in a couple of games earlier in the season so he was prepared.”

 When Ethan Davis got injured last week it forced Herabidian and his coaching staff to find a quarterback to field the game against North Hollywood on Friday. And AJ was the best choice..

“I felt a lot of pressure having to start my first varsity game as a freshman with not much experience playing at that level yet.” Franciso said. “And coming off a two-loss losing streak I felt I had a lot on my shoulders trying to lead our team to a win.”

Francisco played many games with his JV team, “the game speed is much faster and much more intense” Francisco mentioned when asked about the difference between varsity and JV.

With Francisco starting for the tornadoes on Friday there was no doubt that the freshman did better than everyone expected. 

“He did a fantastic job. He ran the offense as it is intended to be run,” Herabidian said. 

The freshman quarterback had a solid stat line in his first start with 9 of 13 passes being completed for a total of 141 yards and two touchdowns in the victory against North Hollywood.

Said Herabidian: “We couldn’t have asked for more from a senior QB much less from a freshman one.”