Hamid Bullie isn’t all the way to back to the player he was as a junior before he suffered a season-ending ACL injury to his right knee in the final game of the regular season.
But if Friday’s performance was any indication, the senior running back from Chicago’s Inter-American Magnet School heading in the right direction.
“Great to see,” Loyola head coach John Holecek said. “He’s such a great kid, and he was so special for us last year until he got hurt.”
In Loyola’s 34-14 win over St. Rita in Chicago, the 5-foot-11, 190-pound Bullie ran 17 times for a season-high 111 yards and scored two touchdowns. But he did most of his work in the third quarter when the game got tight.
After St. Rita scored on the first series of the second half to make it 21-14, the Ramblers (5-1, 2-0 Catholic Blue) turned to Bullie.
On their second possession, he ran four times for 34 yards, scoring on a 10-yard run. Two possessions later, Bullie busted through the left side of the line for a 35-yard TD run that brought back memories of his junior season when he totaled 610 rushing yards and averaged 6.9 yards per carry. He finished the third quarter with 96 yards on 10 carries.
“He looked like himself in the second half,” Loyola running backs coach Ryan Gallagher said. “You could see him burst through the hole again. He’s coming back in bits and pieces. Each week, he gets better.”
Bullie said he started feeling like himself in last week’s 41-14 win over Fenwick in which he ran 14 times for 57 yards and two TDs. In the previous four games, he had 29 carries for 80 yards and one TD.
“I felt a lot better coming off of [Week 5],” he said. “I felt I was a little quicker. I was reading the blocks a lot better. Stuff was coming back. It takes a while.”
Like a smart running back does, Bullie credited the offensive line for Friday’s breakout game. Bullie said he simply followed the blocks.
“The line played phenomenal,” he said. “I just watched the holes they opened and ran into them.”
While Bullie was the star in the second half, senior quarterback Quinn Boyle led Loyola’s offense in the first two quarters. He went 11-for-16 for 135 yards and three TDs before the break. Boyle finished 13-for-21 for 170 yards and three TDs.
Photo credit: Melissa Krein/Loyola