IN THE SPOTLIGHT
Things just got more bullish for Loyola Academy’s football team.
Running back Hamid Bullie is back … and in a big way.
The senior running back became the focal point of LA’s offensive attack in the second half of his team’s 34-14 win over host St. Rita on Sept. 29.
“They kept giving me the ball, and that’s what I wanted,” said Bullie, who finished the night with 111 yards on 17 carries with two touchdowns.
Bullie, who sustained an ACL injury in Week Nine of the 2016 season, is an important piece to the Ramblers’ offense. Last year, he averaged just under seven yards per carry (88-612) with seven touchdowns.
LA’s coaching staff has been patient with its star running back. They didn’t rush him back.
“It’s been pretty frustrating,” said Bullie, of his slow start this fall. “But the coaches did what was best. They know when I’m ready.”
How’s this for ready?
On the second series of the second half — with his team holding on to 21-14 advantage — Bullie busted into the end zone on 10-yard run up the gut.
Then, on the fourth possession of the second half, Bullie definitely looked like the Bullie of old. He showed a burst of speed on a 35-yard TD run. He also made a great cut at the end of the run to dodge a St. Rita defender.
“I had a big hole,” said Bullie, crediting the line play of Joshua Green, Charlie Gross, Christopher Kelly, Peter Gianaris and
Ryan Hagedorn. “Not that hard to run through.”
Bullie might not be at top speed … yet. But he’s got plenty of power and know-how.
“He’s not as explosive as he was,” said LA head coach John Holecek. “But that’s going to come.
“Every week, he’s getting better,” the coach added.
That second-half performance definitely impressed a player on the other side: St. Rita defensive back Kempton Shine.
“He looked pretty good to me,” said Shine, who has been friends with Bullie for a couple of years. “He made some cuts. He scored some touchdowns. I’d say he’s pretty much back to normal.
“I would think that the [scholarship] offers should start rolling in for him,” Shine added.
Shine said that he regrettably was on the other side of the field, when Bullie ripped off his 35-yard TD.
“He ran the opposite way,” said Shine.
“I wanted to put a hit on him. Wanted to give him a little love tap,” added No. 29, with a smile.
Bullie’s re-emergence figures to add another dimension to LA’s running game. He’s the perfect compliment to dual-threat quarterback Quinn Boyle.
“Hamid is a big player on this team,” said LA inside linebacker Christopher Scott. “It was nice to see him step up tonight. I’m proud of him.
“He had been a little hesitate, but now I think he’s back to full speed,” Scott added. “He’s ready to go.”
It appears that Bullie, who also plays basketball at the school, has worked out his jersey issue. He’ll be wearing No. 1 the rest of the way.
He wore No. 40 against Phillips in the season opener. And he wore No. 11 (his number from last year) in a couple of other games this season.
“I got new shoulder pads,” said Bullie, who wears a brace on his right knee. “My old ones were too big. They couldn’t fit into the No. 1 jersey.”
It’s fits the plan.
David Terrell wore No. 1 last year. Dara Laja wore it the year before.
“I had to keep the tradition going,” said Bullie.