En route to the game, the team stopped for orange juice, and Safety Bill Mullaly offered a prayer, "Thanks for this small snack, and we pray this will be the happiest day of our lives." It was for all, with the possible exception of Mullaly. Kalamazoo scored its first touchdown on a pass over his head.
With an overflow crowd of nearly 14,000 watching, the Tigers were on the prowl early, causing a fumble on Kalamazoo's first play from scrimmage. Eight plays later Greg Gutierriz went over from inches away, the run for the extra points was good and Hudson led 8-0. The Tigers did everything off a straight T formation, with sure handoffs and nothing silly like a pass.
Late in the period the Kalamazoo quarterback, Andy Koestner, threw his bomb, a 76-yarder to Lonnie Henegar, and there was Mullaly on his stomach.
In the second quarter Gutierriz, who is not sure whether his first love is football or his 1932 candy-apple-red Ford, ran for 13 yards and his second TD. Four minutes later Carr was on the loose after he appeared to have been hemmed in. At the half the score was 24-6.
But Kalamazoo came out and ripped up Hudson in the third quarter. The Hudson offense broke down; the defense seemed to be on the field all the time. Kalamazoo's Jeff Rubleski crashed over for a score, Hudson's offense messed up again and Kalamazoo was heading toward another touchdown when it failed on a fourth-and-one play.
Still, Hudson needed a few heroics to save the win. The key play was made by Tim Decker, son of insurance man John. He intercepted a pass inside his own 20 as Kalamazoo once again was driving in the fourth quarter. Decker said he was trying to block the ball, but when he saw it floating lazily downward he thought it made sense to just go ahead and grab it.
With 1:17 to play, Salamin, who was in the entire game (at halfback on defense) despite having scalded his right leg earlier in the week with water spilled from a teapot, intercepted another Kalamazoo pass. And then the game was over, and the Hudson players and fans went nicely bananas again.
Losing Coach Dick Soisson was philosophical. "If you put out 100% there's no reason to be ashamed," he said. "We put out 100%." When Saylor gives the 100% spiel, it goes like this: "If you win and don't give 100%, you satisfy no one but the scoreboard." But perhaps satisfying the scoreboard isn't that bad.
Pete Adkins is the coach at Jefferson City (Mo.) High School, whose record of 71 between 1958 and 1966 was broken by Hudson. What about the loss that ended it all for Jefferson City? "We weren't prepared to lose," he says.
Saylor, who gets his mind off The Streak by running a summer doughnut business, frets about that. "It's hard to get ready to win and talk about losing," he says. Yet in a clever way he is doing just that by telling his team, "As long as there is enough time on the clock, nobody is going to beat us." So when Hudson loses, he might say, "We would have won if only there had been more time." He could say this even if they needed three days and a star in the East.