One victory does not a season make, but one victory can erase bad memories of seasons past, and be a building block to future success.
Bryan Station was one giddy football team after blasting host Paul Dunbar 45-14 Friday night, and the Defenders had good reason to feel good about themselves.
By winning its season opener, Bryan Station ended a six-year, 21-game losing streak against city competition.
"We got one monkey off our back," Defenders Coach Oliver Lucas said. "But we've got to keep working, improving, and our kids have to continue to learn how to win."
Bryan Station's players felt they made a statement with their dominating performance against Dunbar.
"I think this game opened everybody's eyes," said senior scatback Patrick Cornett, who rushed for 135 yards and two touchdowns.
"Everybody's gotta know that we're going to bring it to the table every game, and that we can beat any city team, or anybody else, that we play."
Roy Philon, a 270-pound senior fullback and defensive lineman, agreed: "This is a new Station, trust me."
Dunbar won't argue. It had beaten Bryan Station handily eight years in a row before Friday night's turnaround.
"Bryan Station is big and physical, it runs the ball hard and has an effective passing game," Jason Howell said after his debut as Dunbar's coach. "My hat's off to them."
Bryan Station was impressive with the speed and strength it showed on both sides of the ball.
It had several playmakers on offense, led by the Cornett, who might have the quickest feet in the city.
But there were other standouts, including sophomore quarterback Brady Boling, who was poised in his first varsity start. He completed six of nine passes for 126 yards.
Philon was terrific in short- yardage situations, and had a couple TDs.
Tevin McCaden, a 5-10 junior, also had two scores. One came on an 81-yard kickoff return to start the second half.
Chaz Mitchell also flashed his speed as he turned the corner on a 10-yard TD run.
"We unleashed a couple demons that people hadn't seen before," Lucas said.
"We showed what kind of team speed we have. It was excellent."
Bryan Station generated 414 yards on offense, and its defense, led by Philon, Octavian Crutcher and Isaiah Davis, limited Dunbar to 224. The Bulldogs were led by Marquis Clay's 74 yards rushing, and Martaveous Mays' 62 receiving.
The Defenders jumped ahead 18-0 in the first 15 minutes. That was more points than they scored in any of their previous seven games against Dunbar.
The Bulldogs capitalized on a fumbled punt to get their first TD. It came on a pass from junior quarterback Trent Martin to Mays.
That trimmed Bryan Station's lead to 18-7 at halftime.
But the Defenders delivered three knock-out blows in the third quarter, and the rout was on.
"The good thing about it was the kids acted like they were supposed to win," Lucas said. "We didn't jump around. We expected to play like this."
Howell saw something positive in the lopsided loss.
"Our kids never quit, no matter what happened to them," he said.
"But we're going back to the basics on Monday with our form blocking and form tackling because it was absolutely atrocious tonight."
Bryan Station 45, Paul Dunbar 14
Bryan Station 12 6 20 7—45
Paul Dunbar 0 7 0 7—14
BS—Roy Philon 1 run (conversion failed); BS—Patrick Cornett 44 run (pass failed); BS—Cornett 37 run (run failed); PD—Martaveous Mays 8 pass from Trent Martin (Matthew Pusacchio kick); BS—Tevin McCaden 81 kickoff return (Jose Marin kick); BS—Philon 5 run (Marin kick); BS—Chaz Mitchell 10 run (conversion failed); BS—McCaden 1 run (Marin kick); PD—Marquis Clay 39 run (Pusacchio kick).
Records: Bryan Station 1-0, Paul Dunbar 0-1.
First downs 18 15
Rushing yds 252 124
Passing yds 162 100
Passes 7-10-0 8-27-0
Punts 2-39.0 8-27
Penalties 11-259 8-132