For the Bullis School Bulldogs (0-1), the 2010 season began the same way the 2009 season wrapped up – with a loss.
Friday night’s 36-24 loss to the Vikings of St. John’s Catholic Prep (1-0) is the ninth straight loss for the Bulldogs, dating back to last September. Bulldog’s first-year head coach Pat Cilento knows this wasn’t the ideal start to the Bulldog’s year.
“You always want to come out with a win,” Coach Cilento said. “But I think our kids fought, and fought well.”
Early in the game it seemed like it was going to be a long night for Bullis. St. John’s took the opening kick, and three plays later found the end zone with 40-yard rush by senior running back Lamont Wims. After the Bulldogs fumbled on their opening drive, Wims capped off the Vikings dive with his second rushing touchdown.
Wims, along with junior RB/WR Dontaye Johnson, were all over the field Friday night for the Vikings. They were among ten Vikings starters who played both ways the entire night. They also accounted for all five St. John’s touchdowns.
Vikings Head coach John Ricca knows he has a lot of talent to handle between Wims and Johnson.
“Lamont, he might be the best running back I’ve ever coached,” said Ricca.
The impact of the Vikings players having to spend so much time on the field was visible though, early in the second quarter. The Bulldogs had a big fourth down stop, and took over in Vikings territory.
“We’re going to have the same problem all year…we run out of gas early,” said Ricca.
Bullis junior running back Kevin Jones would get the Bulldogs on the board with a short run to cap off a 40-yard drive. Bullis then caught St. John’s off guard with an onsides kick, and would recover. Their drive would stall, though, and they had to settle for a field goal.
On the next kickoff Bullis again went with an onsides kick, and again recovered. This time the Bulldogs were able to score when senior running back Tyler Martinez got the ball across the goal line with just under two minutes left in the half.
The Bulldogs lead was short lived. St. John’s was able to run a successful two-minute drill and score on a nice pass from junior Quarterback Nick Peifer to Dontaye Johnson. The Vikings took a 20-17 lead into the half.
Bullis opened the second half with the ball and drove the ball very well only to have their drive stall just inside the Vikings 5-yard line. The Bulldogs decided to go for it on fourth-and-short, but were denied. A decision they may have quickly regretted.
Pinned deep in their own zone, the Vikings chances of a successful drive did not look to good. That’s when Peifer decided to dump the ball off to Wims. Lamont then broke a few tackles, made a few cuts and found himself with a wide open lane that stretched 95-yards in front of him and led to a score. After a two-point conversion, the Vikings had a 28-17 lead.
Despite the talent level in the Vikings backfield, Coach Cilento felt his team had plenty of opportunities to hold them back, and make stops.
“They’re two good running backs,” said Cilento. “But we had guys in position…and you need to make those tackles.”
The game was put out of reach in the fourth quarter when Dontaye Johnson intercepted a Bellistri pass. The Vikings took over, and on the first play from scrimmage, Johnson took the ball 60 yards for the score. Johnson also caught a pass to covert the two-point attempt and make the score 36-17.
Bullis would not give up without a fight.
With three minutes to go, Bellistri completed a 20-yard pass to senior wide receiver Justin Friedlander to make the score 36-24. There were several chances for the Bulldogs to make a comeback in the game. Prior to the interception, Bellistri made several good passes to receivers who got a hand on the ball in the endzone, but couldn’t hang on.
There is plenty of time left in the season for the Bulldogs to improve their game. There is plenty of upside with this team, and Coach Cilento is putting a new system into effect and his players are still adjusting.
The amount of work being done is not going unnoticed by opposing coaches either.
“They are very well coached,” said Coach Ricca. He went on to say that “Pat Cilento is doing a great job, and that is a really well coached team.”
Coach Cilento knows that there is still plenty of work to be done, but is extremely happy with the effort he saw his team put forth Friday night.
“We scored with three minutes to go, we’re still fighting” Cilento said. “We’re going to build on this and we’re going to get better.”
The Bullis Bulldogs (0-1) will play the Pallotti Panthers next Saturday at home. Pallotti (1-1) defeated Severn 33-21 on Friday night.