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September 28, 1998 - Image 9

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1998-09-28

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September 28,1998 - SportsMonday - The Michigan Daily -96
'hank goodness! Prairie View
earns first victory since 1989

Dozens of jubilant Prairie View A&M
students savoring the unfamiliar sweet-
ness of victory greeted the football team
s whoops and cheers in the predawn
d~rkness as the Panthers rolled up to the
gym in team buses after breaking their
NCAA-record 80 straight defeats.
"I always believed. I never gave up,"
an ecstatic Charles Sloan said yesterday
morning, remembering how Prairie
View had lost all 67 games while he pur-
sued his undergraduate and master's
degrees. The frustration ended Saturday
night with a 1412 victory over Langston
in Oklahoma City.
By the time school president Charles
ioes got windofthe victory,joyous stu-
dents at this country college had deposit-
ed a goalpost from the nearby football
stadium on his otherwise manicured
front lawn.
His wife Veronica joined students in
their cheer, "Who're you rooting for? P-
Hundreds of students braved raven-
mosquitoes to celebrate outside the
ool's basketball gym in the hours
after the win, though their numbers
dwindled as the night wore on.
It was the Panthers' first victory
since Oct. 28, 1989, when they beat
Mississippi Valley 21-12. Current Prairie
View coach Greg Johnson was the
defensive coordinator at Langston when
Long time coming
Many things have happened
since Prairie View's last
football win, back in 1989.
Some of the more significant
1992 - A young gvernor from
Arkansas wins the presidency,
promising to create "the most
ethical administration ever."
1994-- Nick Saban Is hired to
resurrect Michigan State's
depleted football program. He's
had resounding success, post-
ing mediocre records each and
every season.
1996 - The Michigan hockey
team wins the national champi-
onship. Millions roar their
1997 - Wayne Fontes is fired
as head coach of the Detroit
Lions. He takes his golf cart
with him. Millions roar their
1997 - Ed Martin is found
delighting Michigan basketball
players with his tasty baked
1997 - The Michigan football
team wins the national champi-
onship, disputed only by Peyton
Manning and a few ears of
Last week - Cal Ripken ends
his streak, prompting Prairie
View to end its own.
Great Brands
Tommy Hlfiger
Calvin Kin
Student isouts on 1
eye exams and eyeglasses
* Mon-Tues-TusFrI9-5:30
Wed & Sat 9-1

320 S. State St.
(lower level of Decker Drugs)
O ptical
Please join
Dr. Ellen Zimmermann
Asst Professor of
Gastroenterology, U of M
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of topics including:
First meeting will be:
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7:00pm to 8:30 pm
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Monthly meetings planned

itunwittinglybegan Prairie View's streak
with a 19-18 victory the following week.
Johnson accepted the decidedly
uncomfortable job at Prairie View two
years ago. The skid consumed three
coaches before him.
Johnson's players, prohibited from
talking to reporters until the streak was
over, credit him for helping them kill the
streak. Now they'll look to him to lead
them into the win column again.
"One (win) isn't good enough for
me. I don't want people to think it's a
fluke," said running back Kevin Bell,
whose 57-yard touchdown run turned
out to be the game-winner.
Prairie View's torment stems from a
numbers game. While its rivals stack
their lineups with players drawn by full
scholarships, Prairie View offered none
after a financial scandal wiped out the
1990 season.
Students and alumni decided in 1996
to support 15 full scholarships to be
spread among a few players, still a far
cry from most opponents' offerings.
"This is a credit to all those players
who were here when there were no
scholarships and virtually no hope,"
Hines said.
The jubilation aboard the offensive
unit's bus toned down about a third of the
way into the six-hour ride home, Bell
said. Defensive coordinator Rory
Barnett admitted his bus stayed rowdy.

Weary players and coaches didn't
manage any shuteye until the sun was
high in the southeast Texas sky.
Langston didn't go quietly into the
night, closing Prairie View's lead to 14-
12 with 34 seconds left when Archie
Craft threw a 51-yard touchdown pass to
Ted Roberts.
Prairie View players held hands on
the sideline as Langston broke the hud-
dle for its 2-point conversion try. Craft
tried a sneak up the middle.
It took the officials about 15 seconds
to get to the bottom of the pile and make
a call. They discovered that linebacker
Steven 'Mighty" Garner managed to
stop Craft just short.
"The only thing that went through
my mind was, it was over. It was over,"
Garner said. "All the blood, sweat and
tears, and now it was over."
Prairie View players swarmed the
field to celebrate. Moments later, they
recovered Langston's desperation onside
kick attempt to end the streak for good.
"I'm really happy tonight," said Bell,
the running back, who didn't let acade-
mic problems back at Dickinson High
School and the birth of a daughter two
years ago deter him from college foot-
"A lot of people (back home) ask,
where's Kevin now?" he said, eyes alight
with pride. "He's at Prairie View.
Starting tailback."

Prairie View A&M players Kevin Jefferson (62) and Elan Preston (67) cry tears of joy on Saturday after snapping an NCAA-
record 80-game losing streak with a 14-12 win over Langston.

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