Up the hill, behind the St. Stephen’s/St. Agnes stadium, a pickup football game broke out between a dozen or so adults on Saturday. The group of men and women were laughing as they chased each other in the shadows of several brownstone homes that border the school’s campus, and the ball was being thrown around frantically in true backyard fashion.
In what was a bizarre contest at times, Bullis ran circles around the Saints, as Devonte Williams rushed for 168 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Bulldogs to a 61-14 win in an Interstate Athletic Conference game in Alexandria.
Williams was in middle school the last time upstart St. Stephen’s/St. Agnes (5-2) played a conference game of this magnitude, but the sophomore tailback showed little regard for history in the Bulldogs’ league opener. St. Stephen’s/St. Agnes went 1-8 a year ago and was looking to make a major statement in the IAC with an upset, but those plans faded quickly.
Bullis (6-0) jumped out to 21-0 lead after three touchdown passes from Danny Copeland — two of which went to Nick Fields. Williams broke off a 44-yard run down to the 1 yard-line to set up a Copeland scoring run, making it 28-0 midway through the second quarter. On a number of runs Saturday, Williams made dazzling cutbacks, and rarely did he have a carry that didn’t make a Saints defender miss.
“Up tempo,” Williams said. “We were ready for that. Throughout the summer we had been conditioning a lot and we were already ready, mentally and physically.”
The game was delayed for two stretches, the first of which lasted more than 20 minutes in the second quarter after Copeland cartwheeled through the air on a 24-yard run and suffered a gruesome left wrist injury on the fall. The second stoppage came after a large skirmish in the third quarter between the two teams, which led to a conference between officials at midfield for several minutes to regain control of the chippy game.
The chaos settled, but Williams continued to gas the Saints. Williams returned a punt 31 yards down to the 11-yard line late in the third, and on the next play, he ran a misdirection sweep around the edge for a touchdown to make it 40-14. He added a 43-yard touchdown run early in the fourth quarter, and St. Stephen’s/St. Agnes’s scorekeepers let the clock run through first downs and extra points late in the game.
“We can only control what we do. [St. Stephen’s/St. Agnes is] having a great year,” Bullis Coach Pat Cilento said. “We just wanted to go fast, and score as fast as possible.”