Even playing 73 miles away from the comforts of Kline Alumni Stadium, the Bullis Bulldogs were worth the price of admission on Friday night, dominating a vastly inferior St. Mary's Ryken Knights squad.
The biggest question facing the 2012 Bulldogs was how to replace the incredible production of Kevin Jones ('12) at running back. Nobody currently on the roster is as dominant as Jones was last year, but that didn't stop Bullis. Head coach Pat Cilento put the ball in the hands of a ton of offensive playmakers who got the job done.
Cilento remains committed to running the football despite losing Jones, and although he used a committee approach to divide up rushing attempts, Devonte Williams ('15) appears to be the team's lead dog in the backfield. He led the team with ten carries, which he converted into 46 yards and three touchdowns.
Jonathan Dyer ('13) (4 carries), Brandon Izzo ('13) (6 carries), and Nick Fields ('13) (3 carries) all had opportunities to carry the ball, but quarterback Danny Copeland ('13) ended up as the team's rushing leader, turning in 75 yards on the ground. Copeland also threw for two scores, connecting with Noah Spriggs ('14) and Nick Fields ('13).
Bullis football will no longer be the Kevin Jones Show. However, the athletes lining up on both sides of the ball may be enough to overcome the loss of Jones. At the line of scrimmage, the Bulldogs are noticeably bigger, faster, and stronger. Defensive end Peter Angeh ('13) was the team's most disruptive defensive force, recording a sack and 1.5 tackles for loss.
The back seven of the defense is equally talented. Long, rangy athletes like Nick Fields ('13), Lamonte Armstrong ('14), and Micah Keels ('15) could explain why college scouts from programs like TCU were in attendance.
To temper expectations a little bit, Bullis did not face very stiff competition from St. Mary's Ryken. They will face a much tougher test on the road at Bishop Ireton next week. Still, the Bulldogs look much improved defensively. Whether they can run the ball effectively against a stouter, more disciplined team remains to be seen, but a 40-0 victory remains an encouraging sign of things to come nonetheless.