About 100 kids in the Landon High student section tossed baby powder into the air right before the third quarter against Bullis on Saturday night, and the large white cloud drifted from the stands onto the field. The first two possessions of the third quarter were played in the midst of the sweet scent, and it seemed to anger Landon running back Myles Allen , who pushed his team to not play soft all evening.
And they didn’t. Allen rushed for 80 bruising yards and two second-half touchdowns and the Bears came up with a signature defensive stop in the final minutes to upset the 20th-ranked Bulldogs 12-7 in a pivotal IAC game in Potomac.
The game gave Landon an emotional rivalry win, and more importantly a foothold in the Interstate Athletic Conference with two games remaining. Bullis (7-1) nearly rallied to keep its perfect record intact in the final two minutes, but Yusef Muhammad’s throw on a fourth and seven from the Landon 35 was batted down over the middle.
With neither team able to score in a defensive stalemate during the first two quarters, Allen ran much more violently in the second half, and Landon (6-2), which threw just two passes Saturday with backup quarterback Kyle Hartman, depended on it.
“I knew I had to put lots of weight on my shoulders,” said Allen.
Bullis had its chances to blow the game open, but left its talented defense in tough positions following a couple of crucial turnovers. The Bulldogs led 7-0 early in the third after a Devonte Williams touchdown run, and had an opportunity to build on it after forcing Landon to punt on the following possession. Muhammad was intercepted near the 35-yard line by safety Robert Dunigan, who returned it deep inside Bullis territory, and Allen, after catching a 12-yard pass down to the 2-yard line, mopped up with a short touchdown run late in the third quarter.
But after Bullis linebacker Steven Attah blocked the extra point, Landon needed Allen for more offense on the team’s first possession of the fourth quarter. He gained 30 yards on the drive, which was capped when he bulldozed his way through three Bullis defenders for another two-yard touchdown that gave Landon a lead it wouldn’t relinquish.
“Most guys, when I’m running the ball at full speed, you can’t stop me. I knew I could power through those guys,” said Allen. “I say it’s a one-on-one battle, I say let’s go. Let’s go.”
The win gave Landon’s student section an opportunity to storm their rival’s field. Allen was mugged relentlessly for several minutes, but shortly after took a knee with the team and listened to his coach, Paul Padalino, speak about a “four-week journey” the team must go on to win the IAC. Landon will meet Georgetown Prep (3-5) next weekend, followed by St. Albans (4-4)in the regular-season finale.
“We’ve always talked about these last four weeks as being a championship run for us,” said Padalino. “This is just the second step in that journey. We still gotta beat St. Albans if we want the title to ourselves. They’re going to want to take it from us…it’s a matter of us stepping up again.”