On a muggy Saturday afternoon in Alexandria, VA, fans got the sense that the Bulldogs were about as ready to turn nasty as the ominous storm clouds above them. After a close, back-and-forth start to the contest, Bullis pulled away with 29 unanswered points as the game was ended prematurely due to a tornado warning.
A blocked punt from wide receiver/safety Micah Keels '15 gave Bullis momentum, and the offense capitalized on the excellent field position by scoring a touchdown. After Bishop Ireton blocked a punt of their own, they seized a 15-14 lead going into halftime.
In the second half, Bullis looked much more comfortable defensively. Defensive linemen Peter Angeh ('13), Steven Attah ('14), and Justin Herron ('14) each registered second half sacks, and several devastating hits from defensive backs Tyamonee Johnson ('14) and Kyven Jones ('14) disrupted Ireton's offensive rhythm. Ireton quarterback P.J. Zingler was rattled, playing skittishly down the stretch. The Bullis defense smelled blood and forced Ireton into several mistakes, including safety Nick Fields' ('13) interception return for a touchdown in the game's closing moments.
On the offensive side of the football, head coach Patrick Cilento abandoned his committee approach to the running game, instead trusting Devonte Williams ('14) as his bellcow. Williams added 25 receiving yards to his 22 carries, which he took for 135 yards and a touchdown. In a tight first half, Cilento clearly trusted Williams with the ball over Brandon Izzo ('13)(7 carries), Jonathan Dyer ('13)(1 carry), and Danny Copeland ('13)(6 carries).
While Ireton found a way to bottle up many of Bullis' running plays, Copeland broke off a 55 yard touchdown run late in the game and Williams busted loose for a 44 yard run before getting the football poked out from behind at the one yard line, resulting in a touchback and a change of possession. Fullback Chris Aust ('14) was the team's most powerful runner, dragging defenders all over the field on his way to 46 yards on only four attempts.
Expect the running game to continue to be the offense's bread and butter. The team ran very effectively, logging 272 rushing yards at better than 6.6 yards per attempt. When the offense stalled, their struggles could mostly be attributed to penalties and other mental errors.
Next Friday, the Bulldogs will take on St. Mary's High School from Annapolis in their home opener. St. Mary's beat IAC rival St. Albans 48-31 in their first game, but now stand at 1-1 following a 14 point loss to Archbishop Spalding. An all-you-can-eat cookout will occur before kickoff on the football practice field.