WAGONER — Football homecomings have a special place for students. Wagoner’s 2017 homecoming was extra special, not only for players, students, and parents, but for an entire community.

It was only fitting that Wagoner set the Oklahoma 11-man consecutive wins record in front of an overflow homecoming crowd. Wins like this should be played at home, and the Bulldogs made the most of their opportunity.

As the clock ticked away on a 62-22 win over Tulsa McLain, a celebration that rivals only those held after championship wins was about to take place. A celebration of win number 43 in a row.

Ada won 42 straight games from Sept. 17, 1993-Sept. 20, 1996.

Wagoner coach Dale Condict brought something to this community when he was hired as head coach in 2005. Four state championships, including the last three, and now a 43-game winning streak.

Condict doesn’t take the credit. Instead, he points to those who mentored or inspired him. His late father, Tom, is the first to be mentioned. Friday night was no different.

“I know he’s up there looking down, being a part of this,” Condict said.

And then there are those who set the standard before him. Former Ada High All-Stater (and head coach) Steve Dean was on hand for Friday night’s contest. Dean was a part of Ada’s 42-game streak as the team’s offensive coordinator and was coaching when it ended at Durant in 1996. Dean was the head coach at Ada from 2004-07. His teams went 31-16 during that span.

“Dale and I have been friends since 1994,” Dean told the Ada News. “Dale and I coached together at Okmulgee that year under his dad. Ada beat us at Okmulgee in the middle of that streak.”

In 2004, Condict took the job at Wagoner the same year Dean took over the reins at Ada High. Condict and his Bulldogs got the best of Dean and his Cougars 27-0 in the second round of the 2005 playoffs.

Dean said he had mixed emotions while watching his longtime friend break the streak he had helped set as a Cougar.

“It was bittersweet,” he admitted. “I’m happy for Dale, but I didn’t want to see anybody beat any streak Ada had.”

Condict said he was honored to be a part of the new longest win streak in Oklahoma football history.

“It’s definitely been a very humbling experience to even think about the fact that we’re in this category,” Condict told The Oklahoman. “My dad coached, and this is all I’ve ever done. To think back about all of the great teams that have ever played — especially considering Ada is a team I always had a lot of respect for — it’s an honor and hard to really wrap your mind around.”

He also told the home crowd he respected the Ada High football program.

“I want to thank Ada for setting the standard,” Condict he said.

Then there are the players. Condict mentioned former Ada standouts like Brandon Daniels and Jeremy Shockey who contributed to the Cougars’ success. Then it was his own.

“We are now paving our own tradition with names like Kevin Peterson, Malcolm Rodriguez, Kerwin Thomas, and the list goes on,” Condict said.

And it took a lot of players to contribute to what Wagoner accomplished Friday night.

“This is a team effort,” said senior Marshall McKinney. “A whole team effort through the three years that it took us to do this.”

Condict said there has been some pressure associated with keeping the streak intact.

“I wouldn’t deny that there’s been some pressure with trying to accomplish it,” Condict told The Oklahoman. “You get this close, and anyone being honest would love to tag their name next to that for a while.”

And finally, there was the community. Condict addressed the crowd as the “greatest fans in Class 4A,” much to their approval.

“Our community revolves around the school,” Condict said. “It’s the town’s biggest employer, and that’s how it should be. I think this can give hope or cause some to wake up a little happier.”

Who knows how many more games Wagoner can add to its total? The Bulldogs will face their toughest test of the season Friday night, when they host No. 3 Oologah. Wagoner has beaten Oologah five times during this streak.

Dean said players on the 2017 Wagoner Bulldogs team will remember this day long after their football careers are over.

“What these kids don’t realize is that they will talk more about this in 20 or 30 years, when they are dads and granddads, than they will in the next few weeks,” he said. “It’s a big honor. They should feel excited to beat a record held by a town like Ada, which still has more state football titles (19) than any Oklahoma school.”

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Jeff Cali has been covering sports in the Ada area since the mid-90s. He graduated from Byng High School and earned a bachelor’s degree from East Central University.