Bloomington ends 20-game losing skid
Sept. 9, 2013 at 4:09 a.m.
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BLOOMINGTON - Bloomington is no stranger to struggles on the football field.
The Bobcats' losing streak stood at 20 games following a season-opening 41-31 loss to Woodsboro.
Bloomington hasn't had a winning season since 1998 and hasn't advanced to the playoffs since 1999.
Improvements at Bobcat Stadium haven't been completed, and Bloomington was forced to play its game against Woodsboro on the road.
This week's game against Bishop has been moved to Saturday at Memorial Stadium in Victoria.
The Bobcats faced adversity of a more critical nature on the bus ride to Agua Dulce for Friday night's game.
Assistant coach Vince Dotson's wife was involved in a serious auto wreck, and the team bus had to stop in Sinton so he could get to Citizens Medical Center in Victoria.
Bloomington didn't lose focus and came away with a 39-6 win over the Longhorns, its first win since defeating Woodsboro in the 2010 season opener.
"It's been much better," said second-year Bloomington coach Layne Elkins. "You can tell the kids have bought in. They've got a year underneath their belt. We have 14 seniors, and it's a really good group. They made every practice and every two-a-days."
Elkins returned to his alma mater before last season to become the Bobcats' eighth head football coach in the last 11 seasons.
He's tried to bring stability and, more importantly, accountability to the program.
"If they don't practice, they don't play," Elkins said. "We had some guys missing two-a-days in the past, and they played. Now, they can play - but only if they do their makeup work. Their attitude has been different."
The most noticeable change this season has been on offense.
Bloomington has scored 70 points in its first two games after scoring a total of 85 last season.
"A big part of it is, scheme-wise, in the offensive line, they understand it," Elkins said. "Our offensive line is working hard. That's the big change. We've moved a little more to a wing-T. We still run out of the I and spread it out, but I'm a little more familiar with the wing-T. We're taking the mind-set with the size we have on the offensive line, this is the right scheme. I think it works real well."
Elkins would get no argument from running back John Mendez. The senior has rushed 53 times for 440 yards and seven touchdowns.
"We've been working hard in the offseason, and we've just been looking to be better than last season," Mendez said. "I really have to give it to my line. They've been working hard. I've got a big front line."
Mendez reinjured an ankle last season in Bloomington's District 15-2A, Division II opener against Karnes City and missed the rest of the season.
Elkins attributes Mendez's resurgence to the work he put in during the offseason.
"He's been in the weight room a whole lot," Elkins said. "The other thing was between the scrimmages and the games, he really learned how to read his blocks. The O-line has opened some major holes for him."
Bloomington hasn't won two games in a season since 2007, when it finished 3-7.
A win over Bishop on Saturday would give the Bobcats successive wins for the first time since 2007, when they opened the season with back-to-back victories.
But the elephant in the room for Bloomington is the 58-game district losing streak, dating back to the final game of the 2002 season.
"Our first goal is to win a district game that we haven't been able to win for a long time," Mendez said. "It's a matter of us working hard at practice, everyone showing up and making our grades. Everyone needs to pass. We'll be fine it that happens."
First and counting
Palacios' Brad Bowden and Weimar's David Husmann won for the first time at their new schools.
Husmann led the Wildcats to a 12-11 win over Boling, and Bowden's Sharks defeated Tidehaven 21-0.
Mike Forman is a sports writer for the Victoria Advocate. Contact him at 361-580-6588 or firstname.lastname@example.org or comment on this column at VictoriaAdvocate.com.