By Dylan Butler
Campus Magnet head football coach Jimmy Ryan leaned back in his chair in his office after the Bulldogs 39-16 drubbing of Lafayette Saturday and pondered the question. It is the same question Magnet’s opponents have been unable to answer as of yet. How do you stop the Bulldogs potent, multi-pronged running game?
Sure you can key on Courtney Jones, who scored three touchdowns and garnered 189 yards in last week’s 40-13 win over Long Island City, but then fellow backs Martin Weir and Raheim Bazile can hurt you. If you focus on all three of them, senior quarterback Omar Malcolm is still a threat.
“The answer is,” Ryan finally surmised. “if the offensive line doesn’t block, then they’re not going anywhere.”
For a second straight game, the inexperienced offensive line — which Ryan considered the team’s biggest question marking coming into the season — did a great job, as the foursome had all the room to run they needed. Campus Magnet (3-0) has now outscored its opponents 79-29 in back-to-back wins.
“Courtney is getting better at finding the openings,” Ryan said. “But all the credit should go to the offensive line and to the guy who coaches them, Joe Pepe.”
“My expectations are very high, so they’re playing at the only level I’d allow them to play at,” added Pepe.
Providing the holes for Jones, Bazile, Weir and Malcolm, who combined to run for 332 yards of the team’s 340 yards of total offense, were Jose Cordero, Jamil Coleman, Daveon Greenwood, Ian Odom, Darion Gainous and DeCartes Rene.
“If the offensive line breaks down, then we break down,” said Weir, who carried the ball nine times for 47 yards and two touchdowns. “What makes it worse [for the other team] is the offensive line blocks strong and you can’t really key on anybody.”
Bazile was the first of the quartet to strike, as he scored on a 45-yard draw play as the Bulldogs jumped ahead 7-0 with 10:33 left in the first quarter. Bazile led Magnet with 133 yards on 14 carries and one touchdown.
“In basketball, you can have a superstar, but in football there are 11 players on the field,” Bazile said. “You could take one of us out, but you can’t take out all four of us.”
Weir and Jones added touchdown runs of seven and four yards, respectively, to give the Bulldogs a 20-0 lead at the end of the first quarter. Jones’ second touchdown run, a seven-yard gallop to cap an eight-play, 72-yard drive highlighted by a 24-yard gain by Malcolm, put Magnet ahead, 26-0 with 4:57 left in the half.
“[The running backs] are great so if someone messes up, someone else back there can make up for it,” Malcolm said. “If we keep focused, the sky’s the limit.”
Jones also set up the Bulldogs final touchdown of the first half as three plays after his 26-yard gain on second-and-one from the Lafayette 42, Weir scored from six yards out to put the Bulldogs in front 32-0 at the break. Jones also scored the Bulldogs’ only score of the second half, a 25-yard touchdown, to increase their lead to 39-0 with 5:24 left in the third quarter.
“We’ve worked hard enough,” said Jones, who ran for 88 yards on eight carries in his second-straight three-touchdown game. “Because Jefferson forfeited the first week, we had an extra week of practice, an extra chance to work hard.”
Lafayette (1-2) finally got on the scoreboard with a pair of fourth quarter touchdowns, as Nolan Jackson rushed a six-yard score and Romel Nelson passed to Michael Felix for a 14-yard touchdown.
Campus Magnet hosts a struggling Springfield Gardens (0-3) team Saturday at 11 a.m.
Reach Associate Sports Editor Dylan Butler by e-mail at Timesledger@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 143.