Prairie View ends

PRAIRIE VIEW, Texas (AP) Ñ The bus rolled up to the gym in the predawn darkness.
Prairie View A&M’s football team had made this trip back to the campus many times over the years. Only now whoops and cheers from dozens of students broke the silence.
On this day, when not even buzzing, ravenous mosquitoes could keep students from this homecoming, Prairie View A&M had every right to call itself that strangest of things Ñ a winner.
Its 80-game losing streak, an NCAA record that began nine years ago, was finally, mercifully, over.
The frustration ended Saturday night with a 14-12 victory over Langston in Oklahoma City.
By the time school president Charles Hines got wind of the victory, students had deposited a goalpost from the nearby football stadium on his otherwise manicured front lawn.
As usual, many of the school’s 6,000 students on this campus 45 miles northwest of Houston had left for the weekend. But some hastened back across the cattle pastures and row crops to join the party.
Hundreds of students, many swatting mosquitoes from their legs in the muggy heat, celebrated outside the basketball gym in the hours after the victory, though their numbers dwindled as the night wore on.
This was the Panthers’ first victory since Oct. 28, 1989, when they beat Mississippi Valley 21-12. Greg Johnson, the current coach, was the defensive coordinator at Langston when it began Prairie View’s streak with a 19-18 victory the following week.
Saying he’d fallen into a “comfort zone” at Langston after taking over and reviving its program, Johnson took the Prairie View job 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 end the streak.
“One (win) isn’t good enough for me. I don’t want people to think it’s a fluke,” said running back Kevin Bell, who had a 57-yard touchdown run in the second half.
Prairie View’s torment stems from a numbers game. Its rivals stack their rosters with players on full scholarships. Prairie View offers 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, a far cry from what most opponents provide.
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 huddle for its 2-point conversion. 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. 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.”