LOWER MORELAND >> Delco Christian head football coach Drew Pearson was smiling.
And for the first time this year he had dozens of faces smiling back at him.
It feels that way after a team wins its first game of the season, and that’s what Pearson’s Knights did Saturday afternoon, spanking host Lower Moreland, 41-8, in a contest that Delco owned from the outset.
Sophomore quarterback Elijah Thomas accounted for 144 first-half yards, and threw a pair of touchdown passes and Jalen Mitchell scored three touchdowns as the Knights got in the “W” column after opening the season at 0-4.
“It’s good for our kids,” Pearson said. “This program has had a lot of success in recent years, but this year we have a very young team that has not enjoyed that success.
“We’re very young and very few of our players have been a part of those teams, of even winning a ballgame.”
“It’s hard and it’s discouraging,” added senior linebacker Jake Gutowski, one of the few Knights veterans. “But every week we’ve come out looking to get better, and it paid off today.”
The Knights wasted little time fashioning their win, rumbling 55 yards on six plays to take a 7-0 lead via Elijah Thomas’ 19-run run with 9:32 left in the opening quarter.
After Lower Moreland went three-and-out, the Knights were back at it, going up, 13-0, on three plays, the final one a 49-yard touchdown run by Chris Chung.
But the carnage had just begun.
Lower Moreland fumbled the ball away on its next series, and just four plays after Gutowski plopped on the loose ball at the Lions 29, Luke Gutowski scored from the 7-yard line and the score was 20-0.
Lower Moreland threatened, but when its drive died on downs at the Delco 16, the Knights answered with a seven-play, 84-yard drive, keyed by a 44-yard Thomas pass to Jalen Mitchell and capped by Mitchell’s 6-yard scoring run with 7:39 left in the first half.
It was 27-0, and the Lions were reeling.
“We’re struggling in a lot of areas right now,” said Lower Moreland head coach Mark Mayson. “It’s been tough on our kids.
“(Delco) came right out and took control of the game.”
Delco had one more touchdown in the playbook, and Thomas delivered it, tossing a 14-yard scoring pass to Mitchell with 3:16 left in the half.
It was 33-0 at the break, and all that was left was the smiling.
“We’ve had eight starters, who play both ways for us, that have been injured, and they’re coming back a few at a time,” Pearson said. “And we’ll get a few more back in the coming weeks.”
The Knights kicked in the running clock when Mitchell scored from 5 yards out with 3:07 left in the third.
But by then the celebration was already in full-on party mode.
“There were so many plays in the last couple of weeks that we just missed,” Gutowski said. “Little mistakes have been killing us. But we were the ones capitalizing on mistakes today.”
The Lions got a consolation touchdown on a 4-yard carry by Nick Derderian with 4:23 left in the game, but by then Delco already had a “1” in the “W” column.
“Nothing is going to change,” Pearson said. “We’re going to continue to practice and continue to get better.”