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Bulls out to end trend of one-win seasons

However, suspensions might make the task more difficult.

By ANTHONY GAGLIANO
© St. Petersburg Times
published September 6, 2002


VALRICO -- Can momentum from the only Bulls victory last fall carry over eight months?

That's a big question for Bloomingdale and its coach, David Bankston.

In his first year as head coach in 2001, Bankston and the Bulls were 0-9 heading into the season finale at Brandon. Trailing 9-0 at halftime, the Bulls rallied behind three touchdowns (two running and one passing) from quarterback Jarob Skaletski to win 21-9 and end a 15-game losing streak.

The 2001 season, however, was also the third straight one-win campaign for the Bulls, who have yet to post a winning record in their 15-year existence.

Academic suspensions also have robbed this year's team of key skill players, such as tailback Harold Marchman, who was the focus of the ground game in the spring jamboree against East Bay.

THROUGH THE AIR: Skaletski and Jon Olsteen spent much of 2001 platooning at quarterback, but it appeared Skaletski, a senior, would have the edge this fall after the Brandon game.

But when he missed the first day of workouts in August, Bankston seemed unsure what his quarterback situation would be.

Olsteen got ample experience as a sophomore, and at 6 feet 4, he brings a higher angle of attack.

Receiver Josh Debbie also got plenty of minutes last season as a sophomore and could be ready to break out. Debbie possesses great size, which Bankston said will aid the Bulls' ground game.

ON THE GROUND: The suspensions hit Bloomingdale hardest at the skill positions. If Marchman can't go, Bankston will need to rework his situation at tailback.

Bankston and the Bulls will be counting on senior Danny Beasley to anchor the line while the team breaks in some new tailbacks.

Junior Mike Fant and sophomore Richard Miller appear primed to grab playing time alongside Beasley.

Will House will probably figure into the equation at center, but could also play guard. Newcomer Chris Foreman could also find a role and Anthony Davis' size (280 pounds) has Bankston intrigued.

DEFENSE: Beasley will be the focus of the line and Huey Mills will be counted on to pressure opposing quarterbacks.

Danny Wayne will hold a lot of the responsibility for the Bulls' defense.

Bankston needs leadership and tackles out of his middle linebacker, who will call the defensive signals.

"He's one of those guys that's 100 percent every play and will hit you, lifts, works out and doesn't question anything," Bankston said. "He just does what you tell him to do."

Another question mark for the Bulls is punter Mike Lugo, who has a back injury that could keep him off the field this season.

BIG GAME: Brandon, Nov. 8. There's a slight possibility Brandon wants revenge. It's also a crosstown rivalry and the season finale for both.

It should be a bona fide grudge match.

BLOOMINGDALE BULLS

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