If Hooker is to break a 21 game losing streak, young players must be a factor. Hooker has 26 players out for football under third year head coach Zach Oliver, but 17 are freshmen and sophomores. The Bulldogs have just four seniors and return four starters on both sides of the ball. "We're really young," Oliver said. "But we expect them to step up pretty quick for us. We've put the pressure on them that we expect them to play bigger than freshmen." The Hooker freshmen were undefeated in junior high last year. "They think they can win," Oliver said of the freshmen. "Right now we're going to let them believe they can and keep thinking that way."
Key Bulldogs include senior te/lb Michael Wiebe. senior lineman Kyle Johnson, fb/lb Blake Davis, sophomore linemen Guerrero Garcia and Roy Alverado, junior lineman Bradley Rider, and newcomer senior te/de Josh Faulkner. The Bulldogs have two freshmen and sophomore competing the the quarterback and tailback jobs with a freshman in line to play z-back. Senior fullback and linebacker Blake Davis says he tries to help the younger players. "We just encourage them," Davis said. "If they do something good you tell them good job. If they make a mistake, it's not a big deal. They'll learn from it. They'll get better. We try to keep their spirits up."
The three returning seniors are determined to be successful. Senior lineman Kyle Johnson says this is a small but spirited group. "It's not a big bunch (of seniors)," Johnson said. "That says more about our senior group that we do want to see program succeed or we wouldn't be out here. We would be like the rest of our class that doesn't want to put in the time and doesn't want to sacrifice to see this program succeed."
Senior tight end and linebacker Michael Wiebe says there can't be any quit in this Hooker team. "One thing we have to do this year is play every down like it's the last one," Wiebe said. "We have to go hard all the time. In the past we've given up quite a bit. We have to keep going hard this year."
Oliver says this team is showing promise in practice the past week. "The big thing is just refuse to lose," Oliver said. "In the past when we get on the field on a Friday night it was a confidence issue. We weren't sure if we could win. If you carry yourself that way, you are not going to win. We realize there's only 26 of us so people are going to try to wear us down. When it's the fourth quarter, we've got to be in better shape and we can't quit." The Bulldogs will be featured during the Sportsguys Wednesday mornign on Talkradio 1270 and kscb.net.
Sep. 4 at Booker
Sep. 11 @ Hennessey
Sep. 18 vs Mooreland
Sep. 25 vs Chisholm
Oct. 2 @ Beaver
Oct. 9 vs Turpin
Oct. 15 @ Pioneer - Pleasant Vale
Oct. 23 vs Oklahoma Bible Academy
Oct. 30 @ Okeene
Nov. 6 @ Texhoma