Trib HSSN May Madness: Malik Hooker, New Castle vs. Robert Foster, Central Valley

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Thursday, May 14, 2020 | 9:00 AM


Over the course of the next month and a half, May Madness will determine who fans believe is the WPIAL Athlete of the Century.

HSSN has put together two 32-player brackets, one for the boys and one for the girls, of WPIAL alums. Outside of a few exceptions, the field is made up of former district players who excelled in more than one sport.

Each weekday, May Madness will have one matchup each on the boys and girls bracket with a little background info on each athlete found in a daily tale of the tape.

Starting at 9 a.m. Thursday and running through 9 a.m. Friday, you can vote on the HSSN twitter page on the two athletes featured in this first-round matchup.

Check the HSSN website at noon Friday for the matchup’s final results.

Here is the contest for the boys. Round 1, Day 10:

Malik Hooker vs. Robert Foster is a battle between two athletes from schools that were rivals in the best football conference in the state at the time, the old Class AAA Parkway Conference.

Malik Hooker — New Castle Class of 2014

(Football, basketball)

• Pittsburgh Tribune-Review Terrific 25 football all-star in 2013 and Terrific 10 basketball all-star in 2014.

• Did not start playing football until his junior year. Played defensive back, wide receiver and returned kicks.

• As a senior, scored 13 touchdowns and was a standout on defense in helping New Castle to a 7-3 record and the ‘Canes’ first playoff game in four years.

• Was a member of the New Castle basketball team for four years, winning three straight WPIAL championships his sophomore, junior and senior seasons.

• At the time, Hooker finished his basketball career as the second-leading scorer in New Castle history with 1,627 points.

• In his senior season, Hooker averaged nearly 22 points, 9.5 rebounds, 4 steals and 2 blocks per game.

• New Castle finished a perfect 31-0 in Hooker’s senior season in 2014, winning WPIAL gold and the school’s first PIAA championship after a 52-39 win over LaSalle College.

• Played his college football as a safety at Ohio State and is playing in the NFL for Indianapolis.

Robert Foster — Central Valley Class of 2013

(Football, basketball)

• 2011 and 2012 Pittsburgh Tribune-Review Terrific 25 all-star.

• 2011 and 2012 Pa. Sportswriters Class AAA first-team all-state.

• After playing his freshman season at Monaca, Foster helped turn Central Valley into a football power the next three years after the school district was formed with the merger of Monaca and Center high schools.

• 2012 USA Today first-team all-American.

• ESPN ranked Foster No. 25 in the nation, the No. 2 wide receiver in the country and the top prospect in Pennsylvania.

• Helped Central Valley finish 9-3 his senior year with 45 receptions for 756 yards and 14 touchdowns to go along with 549 yards rushing and 12 more scores, 67 tackles on defense and four interceptions and was a dangerous kick returner.

• As a sophomore, Foster caught 25 passes for 520 yards and seven touchdowns while rushing for 406 yards and three scores in leading Central Valley to a 10-4 record and a WPIAL Class AAA championship in the Warriors’ very first season.

• Foster played his college football as a wide receiver at Alabama and is in the NFL as a receiver for Buffalo.

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