In its season opener, the Bullis School football team had just allowed St. John's College quarterback Will Ulmer to crash 27 yards through its defense for an early touchdown run.
Bullis coach Pat Cilento wandered down his sideline and looked down.
“We're asking a freshman to tackle that guy,” Cilento said matter-of-factly into his headset. “We don't have anybody better. That's what going to happen.”
With five starters out and a sixth lost during the game, Bullis allowed Ulmer to run for three touchdowns, ceding a running clock in the first half, in a 42-0 loss to St. John's on Friday.
“We knew it was going to take a miracle,” Cilento said.
Among the injured players for Bullis was its top offensive playmaker, junior running back Devonte Williams, who had minor surgery and expects to return next week.
In the meantime, Kyven Jones moved from receiver to running back. But he too left the game early with a shoulder injury.
“I tried to step up as a leader — be like a sideline coach, get people in their right places and just cheer my team on,” said Jones, who intercepted a pass on the game's first possession.
Jones ran for 24 yards on eight carries before ceding way to Brian Latham Jr., who had 17 carries for 64 yards.
Bullis struggled on both lines, making it nearly impossible contain Ullmer, who ran for 107 yards and threw for 102. The quarterback is committed to the University of Maryland, College Park.
“I'd like to see what we could do healthy,” Cilento said. “But my hat's off to them. They're a great team, great program.”
Last season, Bullis earned a 26-3 win over Bishop McNamara, a member of the prestigious Washington Catholic Athletic Conference that finished 3-7.
St. John's, another WCAC foe, figured to be a step up in scheduling for Bullis, and that looked especially true when St. John's opened its season by defeating Calvert Hall, traditionally one of Baltimore's top teams.
Though Bullis was clearly stung by this non-league setback, Jones still brought up the possibility of an Interstate Athletic Conference championship.
“We have a bright future,” Jones said. “Even though we lost like that, I can see our team, with our people coming back…”
Longer term, Cilento said he won't shy from scheduling more WCAC opponents, even St. John's.
“Hopefully, we can work it out where we can play them again next year,” Cilento said.
St. John's College 42, Bullis 0
St. John's College (2-0) 14 21 7 0 — 42
Bullis (1-0) 0 0 0 0 — 0
SJC — Kenneth Brooks 37 interception return (Joe Giglio kick)
SJC — Will Ulmer 27 run (Joe Giglio kick)
SJC — Will Ulmer 37 run (Joe Giglio kick)
SJC — Maurice Harley 1 run (Joe Giglio kick)
SJC — Will Ulmer 1 run (Joe Giglio kick)
SJC —Nigel Rowser 73 interception return (Joe Giglio kick)
St. John's College (D.C) — Will Ulmer 9-107, Omar Garcia 11-60, Corey Vessels 3-13, Maurice Harley 3-4, Billy McCaffrey 1-(-9).
Bullis —Brian Latham Jr. 17-64, Kyven Jones 8-24, Steven Attah 1-10, Christopher Aust 1-5, Tyamonee Johnson 1-0, Andres Lopez 1-0, Dwayne Haskins 3-(-7).
St. John's (D.C) — Will Ulmer 6-8-102-1, Billy McCaffrey 1-4-9-0.
Bullis — Dwayne Haskins 3-12-29-3.
St. John's College (D.C) — William Jackson 3-67, Scotty Washington 1-15, Omar Truitt 1-12, Will Ulmer 1-9, Devin Williams 1-8.
Bullis — Benjamin Brown 2-16, Christopher Aust 1-13.