By SHAWN YORKS
The Guymon Daily Herald
HOOKER, Okla. - All good things must come to an end.
Or in the case of the Hooker High School football team, all bad things must come to an end. The Hooker Bulldogs erased years of futility on the football field Friday night, defeating Booker, Texas 42-26 at Bulldog Stadium.
The win gives Hooker something it hasn't had in football in years - a winning record at 1-0. It's the beginning of something special in Hooker.
None of the seniors on this year's squad had ever won a high school football game.
"It's amazing, I can't even describe it, really," said senior Bradley Rider. "This is my first high school career win. It's overwhelming. At first I wasn't even, honestly, expecting to win. Then we got out here as a team and just pushed hard, pushed hard and worked at it. We just came out with a win."
Just how impressive was Friday's win? Hooker's losing streak lasted 31 games. It last won a game on Oct. 27, 2006, an 8-6 victory at home over Turpin. Since 2004, the Bulldogs had gone 1-59 until Friday night.
And the Bulldogs did it in dominating fashion.
"When you come to a program that hadn't won in a long, long time, the feeling of winning is even more special," said head coach Joe Biddle, who's career record in Hooker is perfect. "These wins don't come easy, Booker's a great team and they gave us everything we could handle."
Hooker (1-0) took charge from the opening kick-off, using its superior size on the line, a speedy backfield, an accurate passing game and its depth. Hooker dressed out 32 players and Booker (1-1) had 23.
The Bulldogs switched running backs, keeping a fresh pair of legs in the game all the time.
Hooker took the opening kick-off and scored in six plays. The drive started at the Booker 39 after a nice run back by senior Joe Biddle, the coach's son.
The touchdown came on a 1-yard plunge by Anselmo Estrada and was set up by five straight runs by Joe Bean, including a 19-yard scamper that brought the Bulldogs to within striking distance.
Booker moved the ball well on its ensuing possession, driving from its own 35 to the Hooker 11 - five of those on a Bulldog penalty. After a Booker penalty put it on the 16, the Bulldogs recovered a fumble by Booker quarterback Raul Camacho at the 18.
The Bulldogs then showed they could sustain an extended drive, going from their own 18 and scoring in 13 plays with Bean doing the honors from the 3 yard-line at the 2:19 mark of the first period. Taylor McBee's extra point run made it 14-0 Bulldogs.
The drive included carries by six different Hooker backs, with Bean scampering for 22 yards and quarterback Brandon Goosen scrambling for a first down into Booker territory. McBee, Kolby Blackwelder, Estrada and Augustin Barrios all had carries, although Blackwelder's was negated by a penalty.
Getting ahead early and giving his team confidence was all part of Biddle's scheme.
"I knew that if we could get that first touchdown, and not be trailing, that would give them the sense that that this is a new time," Biddle said. "That was important, that was why we received the first kick-off."
Booker got on the board with a 78-yard drive that included a pass interference penalty on Hooker and a touchdown completion that was called back.
The Kiowas finally scored when quarterback Raul Camacho found Skylar Fronk from 11 yards out with five seconds left in the first period. The extra point pass was incomplete.
Hooker drove to the Booker 6, but the drive stalled there, and the Kiowas put together a 94-yard drive to score again. A couple completions from Camacho to Julian Rios and a pass interference call against Hooker set the Kiowas up on their own 48. That's when Camacho tossed 52 yards to Fronk with 4:46 left in the second quarter. The extra point pass was no good and Hooker clung to a 14-12 lead.
Hooker got to the Booker 17 before again giving the ball away on downs.
Most other Hooker teams would have begun to have doubts, but not this bunch. On Booker's first play, Camacho threw an interception to Biddle, who returned it to the Kiowa 8.
Bean was in the end zone on the next play and, after McBee's conversion run, Hooker led 22-12 with 1:45 to go in the second.
Booker drove to the Hooker 1 after Rios intercepted a pass that was returned to the Bulldog 18, but time ran out and Hooker maintained a lead at the half.
"I don't know when was the last time we had a lead, but it's been a long time," Biddle said.
Hooker tried an on-side kick to start the second half, but it didn't go 10 yards, and Booker took over at the Bulldog 41. And it was the Hooker defense that stepped up and made a statement, forcing the Kiowas to give it up on downs at the Bulldog 46.
The offense responded, driving down for a score in eight plays, with Biddle Jr. running a reverse from 12 yards away to make it 28-12 Hooker. The drive included a key first down run by Barrios and runs by Blackwelder and Estrada that set up the score.
Bean ended another Booker possession with an interception, but the Bulldogs fumbled it away to set up Booker's next score.
The Kiowas went 50 yards in seven plays, with Camacho plunging in from the 1 at the 1:44 mark of the third period. The big play of the drive was a 30-yard strike from Camacho to Rios.
Hooker again answered, with a 60-yard scoring drive that ended the third quarter and took up the first three minutes of the fourth. Bean scored from 2 yards out and Cody Ansley caught the conversion pass to make it 36-18.
Bean had a 19-yard run and Barrios a 10-yard scamper. Biddle Jr. had a 20-yard scoring run on another reverse that was called back.
Hooker scored again on its next possession with a 55-yard drive that ended with an 8-yard scoring run by Barrios with 2:12 left in the game.
At that point, the crowd began to empty onto the track, knowing that the game was securely in hand, even though Booker managed a 25-yard scoring strike from Camacho to Rios with three seconds left.
When the final horn sounded, the fans and players poured onto the field, and Biddle was doused with water.
"I would take any one of my kids over anybody in the state, I don't care who it is, Union or Jenks, I don't care," Biddle said. "These guys work hard and they put it all on the line and it's because of them we won."
Hooker has an open date next Friday and travels to Gruver, Texas on Sept. 17.
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