Tradition hung in the air Friday as thick as the autumn fog hovering over Joe Eddie Cowley Field at Herbert Hoover.
Before the game, the public address announcer ticked off several awards that the Huskies marching band had won at the recent majorette festival, and a homecoming queen was crowned at halftime.
Then it was up to Hoover's football team to come through to complete the night, and it didn't disappoint, holding off Poca for its first victory of the season in a 19-16 decision. A sparse crowd attended the Class AA Cardinal Conference matchup at Falling Rock after rain moved through the Kanawha Valley most of the evening.
Senior Cody Farmer returned the opening kickoff 77 yards for a touchdown to spark the Huskies (1-5) and the defense, which forced four turnovers, stood strong.
Hoover sophomore linebacker Colton Thomas dragged down Poca junior tailback T.T. Loudin for a 3-yard loss on fourth-and-goal from the 5-yard line with 10.1 seconds left in the game to seal the victory.
"I felt it just gave everyone a boost of confidence,'' smiled Farmer when talking about his kickoff return. "It got us fired up right away.
"That's what we wanted, get ahead and get going. We had a great practice week. We got our heads straight. Practices have changed. The fundamentals are getting better and we're working as a team now. We're starting to click.''
The Dots (2-4), who have lost three straight, fumbled the ball away on their first two possessions but then took an 8-7 lead on Loudin's 11-yard scoring run at the end of the opening quarter. Poca extended it to 16-9 on junior quarterback Jake Payne's 24-yard TD scamper later in the second period.
The Huskies were resilient, though, and closed to 16-13 at halftime when sophomore quarterback Tyler Americo found sophomore wideout Tim Hopkins drifting alone in the end zone for a 13-yard score with 17.3 seconds to go.