Knights suf­fer first loss

Foot­ball team edged by Bullis in bat­tle of un­beat­ens

The Enterprise - - Sports - By TED BLACK tblack@somd­news.com

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.

PHOTO BY THERESA JOHN­SON/LEMON­ADE PUCKER PHO­TOG­RA­PHY

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.

PHOTO BY THERESA JOHN­SON/LEMON­ADE PUCKER PHO­TOG­RA­PHY

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.

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