By Joe Sageman
While varsity football's defense has been stout throughout the season, it's the team's running game that is getting going in a big way as the Bulldogs head into the teeth of their conference schedule.
Over the past two weeks, Bullis has accounted for 801 rushing yards. To put that in perspective, the team ran for 974 yards through the first five games of the season and has allowed under 500 rushing yards for the entire season.
While 254 rushing yards per game is a great number for any offense, Bullis' recent performances put their season average to shame (see left-hand graph).
Several factors account for Bullis' success in the running game. First of all, the Bulldogs are now more inclined to run now that starting quarterback Danny Copeland ('13) is injured. His replacement, Yusef Muhammad ('15), has only thrown ten passes in over a game and a half of action so far.
However, the Bulldogs have been careful not to overwork starting tailback Devonte Williams ('15). Despite calling a staggering 63 run plays against St. Albans (20 more than the season average), Williams only saw 19 of those carries. That's in line with his season average of 17 carries a game.
Tailback Brandon Izzo ('13) has been the beneficiary of the shift in offensive philosophy for the Bulldogs so far. He has received 29 carries in the past two weeks compared to 27 through the first five games.
While Williams and Izzo are certainly the lead backs for Bullis, the team has established a stable of ball carriers that rotate in and out of the game to stay fresh. Jonathan Dyer ('13) closed out the game against St. Albans with 41 rushing yards, and Raekwon Reese ('15) saw his first action of the season at fullback, where he rotated with starter Chris Aust ('14).
Eight different Bulldogs have received carries over the past two weeks, and much of the credit for their success deserves to go to the offensive line. Despite losing left tackle Jonathan Holland ('15) to a broken collarbone, the offense has not skipped a beat. Phil Bryant ('13) filled in admirably in his first start of the season against St. Albans.
Any football fan will agree that it's easy to stay committed to the run when their team is up big. In blowout wins over St. Stephen's and St. Albans, Bullis has not needed the big-play potential of the passing game and has been content to milk the clock and play conservatively. With Landon and Georgetown Prep remaining on the schedule, however, that style of play will be put to the test.