A small piece of paper with a date printed on it (November 3, 2017) had become a fixture in Andrés Gómez’s office. Northbrook High School’s junior football coach hung it right above the dry-erase board where he draws plays and takes notes to himself, allowing it to serve as a reminder and motivation.
The date represented the last time the Raiders won a game, 34-12 against Spring Woods.
The note fell earlier this week, because it is now obsolete. Houston Northbrook jumped out to a big early lead against Aldine and cruised to a 27-14 victory on Saturday, snapping what was the longest active losing streak among Texas high schools at 42 games, according to Dave Campbell’s Texas Football.
“He was sitting there, looking at me,” Gomez said Tuesday, as Spring Branch ISD school resumed after a long Labor Day weekend. “Yesterday during practice I took it out, showed it to the kids and said, ‘Let’s build a winning streak.’ “
The Raiders (1-1) will try two in a row this Friday night in undefeated Brazoswood (2-0). But first, Northbrook players, both past and present, can spend a little more time basking in their long-awaited feat.
Gomez said the Raiders, who never qualified for the state playoffs and last enjoyed a winning season in 1993, were caught in a “viscous cycle.” He said lackluster results caused a lack of interest in the team among the student body, resulting in low participation in soccer, which made it even more difficult to remain competitive in Class 6A, the state classification for its larger public schools.
The 2020 season was especially difficult, according to Gomez, who said the Raiders lost each of their games by at least 17 points. Northbrook was more competitive last year, even though he still couldn’t break the win column, finally breaking through in the second game this season.
Among those who celebrated with the Raiders were some of their former players who did not experience a win. Tears of joy were shed, Gomez said.
Shout @Gomezican @CoachKarre24 @CoachReese56 @DavidAKuti1 @CoachRomero9 @Coach_Howard06 and the rest of RAIDER NATION! You all made this happen for us through your hard work, dedication, and determination. After 5 years we have achieved what everyone thought was impossible R4L⛓ pic.twitter.com/J0P5te12gG
— shiestyyy.7 (@MarquellHannah) September 4, 2022
“It was just the sense of validation that our children could see the progress we made and see something tangible from it,” he said.
Speedy senior Marquell Hannah set the pace for Northbrook’s offense, scoring touchdowns on all three of his rushing attempts while finishing with 120 rushing yards. Gomez said the defense was led by senior middle linebacker Angel Reyes and junior defensive lineman Brian Fernandez, whom the coach described as his two best tacklers.
The victory was somewhat marred by a series of penalties in the second half, by which time Northbrook was well on his way to a long-awaited victory. Gomez said one of his players was ejected after a skirmish with an Aldine player, and two more Northbrook players were subsequently ejected due to comments made within earshot of referees, according to Gomez.
The coach has taken responsibility for his players’ behavior and said he and his assistants are addressing it. It could end up being a learning experience for the Raiders, who are new to winning after a string of losing years.
Also fresh is the experience of going back to school after a win and being recognized during morning announcements, as was the case with the Raiders on Tuesday. Reyes said he and his teammates plan to get used to that kind of treatment.
“It makes us hungrier for more,” Reyes said.
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