HomeNewsBullock makes more history in Ryan victory

Bullock makes more history in Ryan victory

Off he goes: Samir Bullock (left) escapes the clutches of Shareef Miller, becoming the second player in city history to rush for 2,000 yards multiple times. MARIA POUCHNIKOVA / TIMES PHOTO

Staring at fourth-and-5 while nursing a one-score lead with 12 seconds left on the clock, the Archbishop Ryan coaching staff might have faced a gut-wrenching decision. But for one more play at least, the Raiders still had Samir Bullock.

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So there was really no decision at all.

Sophomore quarterback Matt Romano lined up behind his similarly young yet precocious offensive line, barked some signals and handed the ball to Bullock, who busted between the tackles for 11 yards.

First down. Game over. Career complete.

That final run culminated Ryan’s 28–20 Thanksgiving Day victory over George Washington and left the senior Bullock with 178 yards for the day in a mud-logged Mickey Young Stadium, along with a school-record 2,068 for the season and 5,209 in his career, fifth-best in city history. He became only the second back in city history to record multiple 2,000-yard rushing seasons (West Catholic’s Curtis Brinkley also accomplished the feat in 2002–03).

“It’s just been a great career,” said Bullock, who attended Father Judge for two years before transferring to Ryan. “I came out here with a great group of guys, a great coaching staff and it was a great experience. I wouldn’t trade it for nothing.”

Bullock’s 60-yard touchdown run with 3:43 left in the fourth quarter proved to be the clinching points, but not until a furious comeback by the Eagles (7–6) had fallen just short.

Ryan (6–6) scored three second-quarter touchdowns to take a 21–0 lead. Bullock toted the ball 11 times in the opening quarter and six more times in the second on the way to 30 carries for the game. Meanwhile, Romano completed his first five passes for 109 yards and two first-half touchdowns.

Bullock’s six-yard run with with 9:23 left in the half opened the scoring. Then, after Bobby McDevitt fell on a Washington fumble deep in Eagles’ territory, Romano tossed 24 yards to Seneca Williams for a second TD. Romano’s 35-yard screen pass to Bullock moments later gave the Raiders their third touchdown on five offensive snaps.

Washington’s Quadir Cobbs refused to go down without a fight, however. He carried the ball seven times in a 10-play, 72-yard drive and got the Eagles on the scoreboard with a two-yard run. Cobbs ran 32 times for 142 yards and two touchdowns in the contest.

After intermission, Cobbs led a 14-play, 67-yard march for the Eagles and scored on an eight-yard run. Washington trailed 21–14 entering the fourth quarter.

Washington coach Ron Cohen dialed up some trickery early in the fourth, as a reverse handoff to wide receiver Tavious Morgan garnered 50 yards and put the Eagles back in scoring position. Morgan also capped the drive, as he caught a four-yard touchdown pass from Cameron Gontek that made the score 21–20 with 3:55 to go.

But on the extra-point attempt, the Ryan line got good penetration on the treacherous natural turf, and Washington’s kick sailed low and wide.

Bullock’s 60-yard touchdown ensued. He broke 2,000 yards and his own school record on the play. As a junior, he ran for 2,055.

The running back joined Ryan’s head coach Frank McArdle in crediting offensive linemen Sean Devine (center), Drew Obuchowicz and Brendan Ruskowski (tackles) and Kevin Schaeffer and Ryan Kidwell (guards) for making the milestones possible. Only Schaeffer is a senior. The Raiders’ running attack also relied on the fullback McDevitt and tight end Jon Liguori, both seniors.

“It’s a great group of guys. I wouldn’t have rushed for 2,000 without these guys,” Bullock said. “We do have a group of young guys but they’re a hard-working group at the end of the day. They help me. This is their record, too.”

Ryan’s defense stopped Washington from crossing midfield on the Eagles’ final possession. Then it was up to Bullock and his blockers to kill the clock.

“The thing about Samir that I love is he got better in the tougher games,” McArdle said. “He ran hard when his back was to the wall. That’s what you could rely on him to do, run hard.”

And that’s what Bullock did until his very last high school play.

“There were 12 seconds left, so I was debating on punting it,” McArdle said. “But there were sloppy conditions and I was worried about the snap or maybe even a blocked punt. So we just said, ‘Let’s give it to Samir and see if he can bail us out one more time.’ And that’s what he did.” ••

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