The sign at the main entrance to Bowie State said it all: THE STREAK ENDS BSC 16-CHEYNEY 12 "ON A ROLL"
That's right, after ending their 32-game losing streak Saturday with a 16-12 victory over Cheyney State University in Cheyney, Pa., the Bulldogs have visions of sugar plums.
Well, by Saturday's game at home against Johnson C. Smith, they will.
Yesterday, as they went through a light workout and then adjourned to the sidelines of the first junior varsity game of Coach Dave Dolch's tenure at Bowie State, the Bulldogs were thinking steak.
Dolch said that before the season, Bowie State's president, James E. Lyons, had promised the team a steak dinner after its first victory.
Get the feeling Bowie State's first football victory since the last game of the 1983 season and second since the last game of the 1982 season was being treated as a special occasion?
You should have been on the bus for the ride home Saturday afternoon -- at least that's what freshman quarterback Marc Cowan said.
"It was unexplainable," he said with a grin the size of his face mask. "Usually, everyone's arguing with each other and stuff like that. This one was really enjoyable, a lot shorter than it really was."
Senior tri-captain John Nabinett didn't really need the bus to get back. He came to Bowie State in 1983, after being an all-Interhigh football player and wrestler at Ballou High School.
In 1984, he said, he played tailback, linebacker, kick returner and long snapper for a team that went 0-10. After that, he decided that he had had enough losing for a while.
"I came here as a winner," he said, "and after that '84 season I felt that I had reached what you might call a crossroads. You know, was I going to transfer? Was I going to stay? What?"
After sitting out the 1985 season (an 0-9 campaign for the Bulldogs), he decided to stay.
"I decided that I wasn't a quitter and I believed in the new coaching staff and what they were trying to do," he said.
However, initially, the new staff, headed by Dolch, didn't believe in what Nabinett was trying to do. They demoted him to second-team fullback.
"I had attitude problems," he said. "I felt, and so did some of the other guys on the team, that I should have been playing. But Coach sat me down and talked to me. Looking back, I feel like I grew up about 10 feet since then."
Saturday morning, before the Bulldogs left their hotel, Dolch sat Nabinett down for another talk.
"He told me that I had been setting a good example for the offense, but that for this particular game I needed to show it more than ever," Nabinett said.
When Cheyney scored a touchdown to take a 12-9 lead with 3:52 to play, Nabinett did. After sophomore Tim Styles returned the ensuing kickoff 40 yards to Cheyney's 38-yard line, Nabinett, quarterback Clarence Boykins and running back Tony Atwater took turns running the ball to the 17.
Noel Harrison then threw his second halfback option pass of the game (his first went for a first-quarter touchdown to Mo Banks), moving the ball to the 2.
With 20 seconds to play, Atwater crashed in for the game-winning points.
"It would have been so easy for us to fold up mentally after Cheyney went ahead," Dolch said, "but we didn't. On the bench, it was something you can't describe in words. But you could feel the electricity."
Now, Dolch said, the initial glow is gone. "The guys were pretty calm today," he said.
Now, there is more work to be done. Eight more games to be won. Or lost.