By Joe Sageman
Varsity football (7-0, 2-0 in IAC) preserved their undefeated record on a picture perfect Saturday afternoon by shutting out St. Albans, 29-0. With Yusef Muhammad ('15) getting his first career start at quarterback, the Bulldogs used a much more conservative offensive approach than usual. They pounded the football right down the throats of the undersized St. Albans front over, and over, and over again. Behind a dominant defensive effort that generated seven sacks (four coming from Peter Angeh ('13)) and three turnovers (two from Nick Fields ('13)) and a ball control offense, Bullis cruised to yet another easy win.
It took Bullis a few possessions to finally take charge of the game. Late in the first quarter, tailback Devonte Williams ('15) punched in a one-yard touchdown run. In the second quarter, Muhammad scored on a quarterback boot that he took for ten yards. In the final seconds of the first half, it was tailback Brandon Izzo's ('13) turn, who scored from one yard out, bringing the halftime score to 18-0.
Bullis kept their momentum going into the second half, when Muhammad scored his second touchdown of the game on a two-yard quarterback sneak. Cornerback and holder Kyven Jones ('14) turned a botched snap on the extra point attempt into a successful two-point conversion by scooping up the football, rolling out, and hitting tight end Lamonte Armstrong ('14) in the end zone thanks to some brilliant improvisation. Armstrong's celebration, however, was ruled over-the-top and cost Bullis 15 yards on the ensuing kickoff.
With the game safely in hand, Ben Brown ('15) hammered home a 27-yard field goal in the fourth quarter to expand the Bulldog lead to 29.
While the offense wasn't flashy, they were clearly effective, especially when running behind right tackle Justin Herron ('14) and right guard Ian Giles ('14). The Bulldogs called an eye-popping 63 running plays, which the offensive line helped cash in for 343 yards. Through only two IAC games, Bullis has racked up an astonishing 801 rushing yards. The ground game will continue to be the team's recipe for success, especially given Copeland's injury at quarterback.
As powerful as the Bullis running game has been over the past few weeks, the bigger story has been the defense. No team has scored more than 15 points on the Bulldogs yet this season, and St. Albans looked completely overwhelmed on the offensive side of the ball. The defensive line was relentless and disruptive, applying constant pressure to the St. Albans passing game.
A flustered St. Albans group was forced into plenty of mistakes, including interceptions by Fields and linebacker Chris Aust ('14). Bullis' best defender was Angeh, though, who led the team with eight tackles, four sacks, two tackles for loss, and a fumble recovery. He wasn't the only defensive lineman who was unblock-able. Armstrong, Herron, and Steven Attah ('14) all were in on several plays behind the line of scrimmage.
Next week, Bullis figures to face their stiffest test to date in archrival Landon. The team has completed their road schedule, and will play Landon, Episcopal, and Georgetown Prep at home. The Landon game once again has IAC championship implications. If Bullis wins, they will be considered heavy favorites to repeat as IAC champions. If not, Landon will be in the driver's seat instead. Look for both teams to come out with a lot of energy and physicality.
Images courtesy of Tina Zibragos