High school football: Bulahan Jr.’s numbers game

Galt quarterback Robert Bulahan Jr. fakes a handoff to running back Kenny Tran provides during their 7-on-7 passing game against Lodi at Don Womble Field on the Lodi High campus on June 11.

GALT — Robert Bulahan Jr. and the Galt High football team are looking to build on numbers this upcoming season.

The three-year starting quarterback, now a senior, is on the cusp of shattering a school record. But what’s more important to the 6-foot-2 and 165-pound Bulahan Jr. is building the camaraderie that, if all goes well, should blossom toward a potential winning season.

This summer, Bulahan Jr. and the Warriors have taken part in many 7-on-7 games that included one against the Lodi High football team at Don Womble Field on the Lodi campus last month. Galt recently took part in the Foothill Tournament in Sacramento.

Prior to the start of the 7-on-7 games, and during the summer, the Warriors have also been focused in the weight room.

“It’s been going good,” Bulahan Jr. said. “This year, the weight lifting, we’re starting to mesh more, the team camaraderie. We are all on the same page.”

Galt coach Tim Cobleigh added on Bulahan Jr., “I think one of the biggest improvements, outside just the game of football itself, is he’s a team leader. He’s really developed into one of the team’s strongest leaders during the off-season. He’s led the way and has set the example for the rest of the football team.”

In 2018, Galt jumped out to a 4-1 record. One of those wins included a come-from-behind win over Valley of Sacramento, 35-34 on Sept. 6. Entering the fourth quarter, Valley led 35-17. Then came the start of Sierra Valley Conference action for the Warriors, who lost all of their conference games to finish at 4-6.

But last season is now just a shadow of the past. In 2017, Galt tasted victories — on the field — at 5-5 with a 2-3 mark in the SVC. However, Galt discovered that an ineligible player had played in all 10 games. That led to the Warriors self-reporting the incident to the SVC and the Sac-Joaquin Section, which led to forfeiting all of their wins.

Galt hasn’t had a .500 or better record since the 2009 season, when that team went 5-5. Galt’s last winning season was a 6-4 mark in 2005, and its last playof trip came during 2004’s 8-3-1 campaign.

“A lot of us on the team know how long it’s been since Galt has been there,” Bulahan Jr. said.

Last season, running the Warriors’ wing-T offense that also spreads out skilled players, Bulahan Jr. completed 133 of 264 passes for 1,702 yards, 21 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. On the ground, he had 34 carries for 92 yards, plus three more touchdowns. He accounted for a 1,794 total offensive yards. During the 2017 season, he threw for 563 yards and only four touchdowns.

“I feel like my sophomore year showed me what the varsity level was like,” Bulahan Jr. said. “My junior year, I knew what to expect. I would say that the offense that we ran helped a lot more.”

Added Galt wide receiver Marcelo Lopez, “Playing with Robert is something more than just a wide receiver and quarterback. We (have) such a dynamic offense, especially when it comes to the passing game.”

Lopez hauled in 39 receptions for 588 yards and 10 touchdowns — for the non-math majors that is one-third of Bulahan Jr.’s total TD passes last year. Another returning senior in Zachary Cirac had 28 receptions for 320 yards and 3 TDs.

The wide receivers won’t be the only targets for Bulahan Jr. this upcoming season. Seniors Blake Beck and Isaac Madrigal and juniors Kenny Tran and Pharoh Tapia are part of the mix, according to Cobleigh.

“We’ve got a corral of receivers this year,” Cobleigh said. “I know I’m big in running the football, but I’ll tell you what, with the amount of guys we can put on the field to throw the football to, I see us throwing a whole lot more this year.”

On top of that, Galt has 15 players on its roster that are 6-foot and taller. Most of those players are more than 6’1.

Bulahan Jr. is also on the same page with past Warrior quarterbacks. He’s currently third on the all-time passing yards list among Galt quarterbacks; Bulahan Jr. has a combined 2,265 yards. Ryan Cox, who played on the 2009 and 2010 Galt squads, has 2,690 yards and Travis Petersen 2,589 yards during two seasons in the 1990s.

For the non-math majors, Bulahan only needs 425 yards of breaking Cox’s record. The statistics are according to John Williams, the SVC commissioner who graduated from Galt High in the mid-1970s and MaxPreps’ website. If all goes accordingly, Bulahan could set the all-time passing record in Galt’s second home game of the season against Summerville on Friday, Aug. 30, if not at Linden on Friday, Sept. 6. Galt opens its season at Warrior Stadium against Woodland Christian on Friday, Aug. 23.

But starting on Monday and running through Friday, July 26, the only numbers Bulahan and the Warriors are concerned about are the plates put on the barbell when they are bench pressing, squatting and dead-lifting. This is when the section’s dead period runs for high school football teams. Coaches can hold voluntary workouts in the weight room and conditioning. But playing in a 7-on-7 game (s) and the use of a football during the dead period is prohibited.

Some of the Warriors’ conditioning workouts will take place on the refurbished Erv Hatzenbuhler Field at Warrior Stadium. An artificial turf, plus new home and visitor stands that can seat a combined 1,800 fans and new scoreboard, plus revamped restrooms and snack bar, is also stirring excitement among the players entering this season.

“It’s kind of crazy,” Bulahan Jr. said. “When you go up high up on the field and look at it now, it doesn’t even look like our field.”

Contact Mike Bush at mikeb@lodinews.com. Follow on Twitter: @MBushLodiSports.

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