Bullis beats Episcopal in football to take IAC title

With just under two minutes remaining before halftime and Bullis threatening to open a three-touchdown lead Saturday against Episcopal, the Bulldogs had plans to employ their hurry-up offense. After losing four yards on a rush and 20 more on consecutive penalties, however, the Bulldogs found themselves going nowhere fast.

While the negative yardage pushed the Bulldogs farther from the goal line, quarterback Dwayne Haskins Jr. relished the extra room. On the ensuing play, the sophomore threaded a pass to Ben Brown , who bounced off several defenders before scoring a 51-yard touchdown that helped spark Bullis to a 54-22 win in Alexandria. The victory clinched the Bulldogs’ second outright Interstate Athletic Conference football title.

The win came in a non-traditional way. Bullis (8-1, 4-0 IAC) relied less on junior rusher Devonte Williams and instead turned to Haskins, who passed for a career-high 269 yards and four touchdowns.

“They were playing a lot of cover-zero and man-to-man and bringing the safety in the box to focus on Devonte, so we used a lot of play-action to throw them off,” Haskins said. “I knew they weren’t going to outscore us, so I just kept trying to make plays and find our open receivers.”

A steady dose of passes from Haskins and the typical long gains on the ground from Williams (194 yards and four touchdowns) helped minimize the impact of 138 penalty yards.

“We obviously could have done better in preparing for this game so that we wouldn’t have so many penalties,” Williams said. “But we kept our head straight and kept fighting to overcome any adversity.”

The Bulldogs also received a boost from their defense, which forced two interceptions and recovered a fumble as Bullis built a 26-3 lead late in the second quarter.

But a 90-yard kickoff return for a touchdown by Brian Chase followed by another long runback to set up a 13-yard touchdown pass from Will Hollister to Blake Barefoot cut the deficit of Episcopal (5-3, 3-1) to 33-16 midway through the third period.

By that point, Episcopal’s focus had shifted to Haskins, which played right into the Bulldogs’ plan. With fewer defenders stacking the box, Williams scored on five- and 16-yard runs to break open the game and spark a title celebration that culminated with an ice-water bath for Bullis Coach Pat Cilento.

Brandon Parker is a sports reporter for The Washington Post.
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