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April 25, 1996

The 1931 season was Hump Daniels' inaugural year as Perry high school football coach. His Maroons that season had a mediocre 4-7 record while the players were introduced to his offense, the Notre Dame box formation. It took that first year for the players to become accustomed to it. The box was similar to the double-wing then in vogue but it featured direct snaps to a spinning back who would hand off, pass downfield or run with the ball himself. The main ingredient was a wall of blockers for the runner. Similar plays today bear labels like "student body left," or "student body right," or "student body up the middle." It was sheer power and a preponderance of numbers against a defense that usually had no time to figure out who had the ball and where he was heading.

Hump made the formation work here for nearly 30 years, even after most schoolboy teams were clamoring for the newfangled split-T formation made popular in the 1950s and 1960s by Coach Bud Wilkinson at the University of Oklahoma. Most of Perry's opponents drilled on defenses against the split-T. When they played the Maroons they had to learn an entirely different type of defense. That gave Hump's teams another advantage.

The coach and his players used that first season to get acquainted with each other. By the time Hump's second season arrived, the Maroons were ready to rumble. From a modest 4-7 finish in 1931, they chalked up a glossy record of 7-2-2 in 1932, outscoring their opponents 133-38. Included was a stirring 13-0 shutout over Stillwater. The next year, 1933, was almost as good with six wins, three losses and two ties, -- and a point spread of 137-76. Actually the Maroons were just getting warmed up.

The 1934 season began with a 13-2 win over the arch-rival Blackwell Maroons, followed by a 12-0 defeat of Ponca City. Cleveland was the next victim, 30-0, but Lawton high school managed a 7-7 tie the following week to provide the only blemish of the season. In successive weeks the PHS Maroons defeated Britton, 14-12; Edmond, 25-7; Enid, 14-9; Hominy, 21-6; Stillwater, 19-0; Fairfax, 6-0; Wynona, 43-0; and Newkirk, 45-0. Perry outscored their opponents 249-43.

Football fever was definitely in the air as the 1935 season rolled around. It opened with a 7-0 win over Sperry, but Ponca City posted a 14-6 victory the following week. That was the Maroons' only loss of the year. Enid managed a 7-7 tie later, but decisive wins were posted by Hump's team over Cleveland, 25-0; Oklahoma City Foster, 52-0; Hominy, 31-0; Drumright, 19-13; Sulphur, 20-0; Fairfax, 38-7; Wynona, 37-12; and Newkirk, 36-12. PHS outscored their combined opponents 278-65 en route to a 9-1-1 season.

Then came 1936. Because it was the high water mark of that decade, and possibly the best in Hump's career, I'm going to deal with it separately a little later on. For now let's just note that the 1936 Maroons were unbeaten and untied on the gridiron, and only one team managed to score against them. The record that year was 11-0-0. Perry scored a total of 388 points, their opponents managed a grand total of 7.

The Maroons continued to roll with a nine-game season in 1937, opening with a 40-0 win over Carmen. Oklahoma City Central was next and Hump's fired-up PHS squad won that one by 19-0. Guthrie shaded the Maroons, 7-0; Blackwell won, 6-0; and Ponca City eked out a 7-6 victory. Perry trimmed Enid, 7-0; tied Fairfax, 0-0; defeated Davenport, 21-0; and Hominy, 26-6, to close out the season with a 5-3-1 record. Perry's point margin against the combined opposition was 119-26.

Perry again played a rather brief schedule of nine games in 1938. Some said it was because opponents were becoming hard to find. The Maroons' victims were Davenport, 37-0; Edmond, 31-0; Yale, 9-7; Ponca City, 7-2; and Newkirk, 27-0. Guthrie tied the locals, 12-12; and the Maroons lost to Enid, 12-0; Blackwell, 9-6; and Bristow, 28-6, to produce another 5-3-1 record. The PHS point margin for the season was 135-62.

Perry was undefeated once again in 1939, although two ties marred the record. One was with Enid and one with Ponca City, both by a score of 6-6. Victories were chalked up over Crescent, 25-0; Billings, 54-0; Edmond, 33-0; Yale, 32-0; Guthrie, 13-0; Blackwell, 21-0; Bristow, 14-0; Newkirk, 196; Garber, 36-13; and Beaver, 25-0. For the year, Perry outscored its foes 284-31.

The next Northwest Corner will have more about that 1936 team, its fabulous record and the major disappointment that marred an otherwise unsullied record.