Knights suffer first loss
Football team edged by Bullis in battle of unbeatens
POTOMAC — With his team trailing 41-13 heading into the fourth quarter at Bullis School in Montgomery County on Friday evening, St. Mary’s Ryken High School first-year head football coach Aaron Brady was in an uncomfortably familiar situation.
One week earlier, the Knights fell behind St. Mary’s of Annapolis 24-0 at the half and rallied for a 27-24 victory to remain unbeaten. On Friday. the Knights faced a 20-13 halftime deficit, only to see the host Bulldogs score 21 unanswered points in the third quarter to put the visitors in another uncompromising spot.
St. Mary’s Ryken (6-1 overall) displayed plenty of resilience in the fourth quarter and countered with three touchdowns of its own, but it could not get the equalizer and suffered their first setback of the season, 41-34.
Brady acknowledged what many Knights fans could already attest, the team has plenty of heart but occasionally some deficits are simply too big to overcome.
“Really, the game came down to three or four big plays,” said Brady, whose team will look to rebound at home against Avalon of Montgomery County at 7 p.m. Friday. “We gave up some big plays in the second quarter and the third quarter and they didn’t
turn the ball over once. My guys played with a lot of heart. They always do. But we just fell too far behind tonight.”
Trailing 41-13 heading into the fourth quarter, St. Mary’s Ryken showed some signs of life by marching 84 yards in seven plays. The Knights opened the drive when quarterback Kristian Marks hit Camden Boyle for 26 yards and visitors ended the Bullis’ 28-point explosion when Marks found Boyle again from 16 yards out in the left corner of the end zone with just over nine minutes remaining.
Bullis (5-0) failed to score on its ensuing possession and St. Mary’s Ryken got the ball back near midfield, although the game was halted for 30 minutes when the Bulldogs’ Mike Mack was injured and stayed motionless on the field until being removed on a stretcher by paramedics and taken to a nearby hospital for an apparent neck injury. An update on Mack was not available at press time.
When the game resumed, St. Mary’s Ryken capped a seven-play, 65yard drive when Calvin Bell plowed forward from three yards out. Bullis countered with a long drive that stalled at the Knights’ 16-yard line and the visitors wasted little time making things interesting when Marks rolled out to his left and hit Boyle on a deep sideline for an 84-yard touchdown toss with 2 minutes 30 seconds remaining.
That made it 41-34 and Bullis held on for the win.
“Kristian made some outstanding passes tonight and Camden ran some great routes,” Brady said. “We were able to move the ball, but we didn’t finish some drives. Then we were in some areas where maybe we could kick a field goal or maybe go for it. We did a good job in the first half taking away some of their run plays, but they hit a few too many big plays.”
St. Mary’s Ryken displayed the ability to move the ball on the ground on each of its first two drives of the game as Bell and John Wynn found am- ple room to run. But the Knights failed to score until midway through the second quarter after Bullis owned a 13-0 lead on two short runs by Eric McKan.
St. Mary’s Ryken rallied to tie the score before half- time when Marks hit Colyn Webster for 43 yards and then hit Nick Jaffurs from two yards out with 33 seconds remaining in the half. But Bullis responded in stunning fashion when quarterback Tucker Strachan hit Bryson Shaw on a bubble screen that Shaw converted into an 89-yard touchdown with 10.7 seconds left in the half.
Bullis opened the second half with a 20-13 lead and quickly added to it. On the Bulldogs’ third play of the third quarter, running back Jason Hersh scored on a 60-yard run. McKan added his third and fourth touchdown runs of the night before the third quarter expired to lift the hosts to a 41-13 lead heading into the final period.
St. Mary’s Ryken High School running back Calvin Bell plunges forward for a touchdown on Friday evening at Bullis School in Montgomery County. Bell rushed for 107 yards and one score on 19 carries, but the Knights suffered their first setback of the season against the unbeaten Bulldogs, 41-34.
St. Mary’s Ryken wide receiver Will Johnson reaches out to catch a pass from quarterback Kristian Marks on Friday evening at Bullis School in the Knights’ 41-34 setback against the unbeaten Bulldogs.