CEDAR FALLS, Iowa - Drew Cook addressed his father during Friday's game as he had all season. Marv Cook was coach to Drew's quarterback. In the end, however, those titles changed with the emotion of state championship.
The Cooks embraced after their Regina team knocked off Fort Dodge St. Edmond, 35-0, for the Class 1A title at the UNI-Dome. It sent the Regals into the record books with their 56 victory in a row, which topped the previous mark set my Waterloo East (1965-71).
"When we won the game, it was "Oh, dad!" I was so excited," Drew said. "It was a really great moment. I could give him a big hug and tell him that I love him. It was a great season."
It's a pretty incredible story.
The elder Cook, a businessman in Iowa City, moved into coaching seven years ago without any prior experience. The former standout with West Branch High, the University of Iowa and New England Patriots has enjoyed remarkable success with an 87-5 record and four state titles in a row.
Regina has succeeded with other former Hawkeyes contributing. Jason Dumont, Ed Hinkel and Alex Kanellis were brought in by Cook to be on staff.
The Iowa connection is a great angle. It just couldn't top father-son facet on Friday.
"I'm so happy I could win one with him," Drew said.
The reserved Marv used a lot of coach speak and cliches to describe his personal feelings. He's honed the skill during years of speaking with the media.
"He's quiet. He really doesn't tell me a lot," Drew said when asked to dig into his father's psyche. "For me to start and for me to play under him, it meant a lot to me. For him, I don't know what he's thinking but I think he's thinking the same thing."
Drew took over the starting quarterback position this fall. The 6-foot-5, 205-pound junior entered Friday's championship round having completed 170-254 passes (66.9 percent) for 2,386 passing yards and 21 touchdowns against just three interceptions. He rushed 86 times for 391 yards and four scores.
The young Cook may have saved his best game for last. He completed all 13 of his passes for 177 yards and a touchdown Friday. He rushed eight times for 49 and a score.
"At times, you step out of the coach role and you're happy and ecstatic because you know how hard he worked and you know the time and the commitment and sacrifice that he put in to get ready and waited his opportunity," Marv said. "When he got his opportunity to take the reigns and perform, he had a great, great season."
Drew credits his father for his improvement as a player. He benefits from extra time with the head coach.
"I really like it, the fact that he's always watching me," Drew said. "He's making me a better player. I'm really glad he's around. I can tell you that.
"He has a huge love for the game. I do, too. I think that's something we can both relate with and we can talk about. For us to be able to go home at night and be able to talk about what happened at practice, it's huge."
Drew has put himself on a path to follow his father's footsteps into college football. He shows a strong arm and good feet. He's on the scout's radar and can help himself with strong off-season camps and combines.
Marv played quarterback in high school before making his mark at tight end in college and the pros. Drew has said he prefers to stay at quarterback.
Time will tell if Drew's positional path will differ from his father's when they part ways on the field. For now, they'll enjoy their special bond and winning combination.