The upstart Bulldog football team had a very successful non-league season under first-year head coach Orion Martin, going 4-1 and consistently raising their game each week. While the team’s confidence grew over the first half of the season, players looked forward to seeing how they would fare in IAC league play. Having a bye-week before the IAC opener against Bullis intensified their anticipation and their emotions were at a fever pitch when they ran onto Steuart Field Saturday. Bullis, winners of 4 IAC championships in the past decade, carried the confidence of a team accustomed to playing for championships. The visitors from Potomac, MD took the opening kickoff and marched 65 yards in 2:36 to take a 6-0 lead. After a long Scott Holland punt that flipped the field for STA, senior Bob Gross intercepted a Bullis pass to set the home Bulldogs up at the 25-yard line. The offensive drive stalled but St. Albans’s defense had found its footing and would yield very little the rest of the quarter. After the teams exchanged punts STA drove the ball to the Bullis 7-yard line and faced 2nd and goal from there to start the second quarter.
As the officials reset the ball and down markers to start the second quarter, the clouds that had threatened rain for hours finally gave way to a heavy downpour. Unfazed, quarterback Chase Williams took the first snap of the quarter from a shotgun alignment, rolled to his right and found Luke Harmon in the back of the end zone to even the score at 6. Scott Holland drilled the extra point to give STA a lead it would never relinquish. As the rain continued, the wind picked up, and the temperature dropped, St. Albans’ defense took over the game. Jeff Davis made a diving interception on Bullis’ next possession. Although that STA drive stalled, Lance Gartrell picked up the defense’s third interception of the half to end Bullis’ next possession. The Bullis defense held again, stopping STA on fourth down from the 15-yard line. Although the STA defense did not force a turnover on the subsequent possession, their relentless pass rush forced a Bullis punt from deep in their own territory. Luke Harmon took that punt 40 yards to set up a first down at the Bullis 17-yard line. Williams found Corbet Darden over the middle to put the ball inside the 5, then called his own number on the next play where he was stopped inside the one. Without huddling, STA quickly lined up and Williams barreled into the end zone for a 13-6 lead with just over two minutes left in the half. Bullis drove to inside the STA 30 at the end of the half but the defense stood tall to keep the lead at 7 going into halftime.
Although the rain subsided during the third quarter, neither offense could generate points as each defense asserted itself. In a repeat of the break between the first and second quarter, the skies opened up again as the fourth quarter got underway. On second down from the Bullis 27, Williams delivered a scintillating scramble to the goal line. Williams initially dropped back to throw on the play but could not find an open receiver. As the Bullis pass rush closed in, Williams escaped around left end, sprinted to the 15, then ran across the field to the far right hashmark where he turned up field again. As he crossed the 5-yard line looking to score, a trailing Bullis defender dove and was able to punch the slippery ball free from William’s grasp propelling the ball forward to the 1-yard line where it took a fortunate bounce and skidded out of bounds at the 1. If the ball had continued straight over the goal line, Bullis would have been awarded possession at the 20. Williams wasted no time in taking advantage of that bit of luck by plowing into the end zone on the next snap for his second rushing touchdown of the day and a 20-6 lead with 10:21 left to play. The St. Albans defense handled matters from there and was not going to surrender any fraction of the lead.
The Bulldogs are not 5-1 overall and 1-0 in league play. This was the program’s first IAC win since 2016 and the first win over Bullis since 2010. The victory sets up a huge league contest with St. Stephen’s next Saturday. The Saints are coming off a thrilling 28-26 win at Landon and are 1-1 in the league, 5-2 overall. Their defense has posted four shutouts and they have outscored their opponents 221 to 75. Kickoff is set for 1:30pm on Steuart Field.
Located in Washington D.C., St. Albans School is a private, all boys day and boarding school. For more than a century, St. Albans has offered a distinctive educational experience for young men in grades 4 through 12. While our students reach exceptional academic goals and exhibit first-rate athletic and artistic achievements, as an Episcopal school we place equal emphasis upon moral and spiritual education.