PHILADELPHIA >> When Glen Mills coach Kevin Owens looked at the size and talent on his roster and the three losses on his record to start the season, he knew the first win couldn’t come soon enough.
If finally arrived Friday night as the Battling Bulls pounded out a 38-7 non-league win on the road over a speedy West Philadelphia squad that is still waiting for its first win.
“It was great to get the first one,” Owens said. “I hope this is the start of something good. We worked very hard for this and got what we deserved, a nice victory.
Glen Mills’ strategy was to run the football and not stop until the Speedboys were worn down. It worked as planned.
West Philadelphia scored on its first drive when Anre Caldwell hit Nasiim Rhodes-Nelson with a seven-yard touchdown pass to briefly take a 7-6 lead.
The score was set up 25-yard, one-handed catch by Rhodes-Nelson that showed the Speedboys, despite their 0-4 record, have some talent.
But those plays were few and far between as Glen Mills methodically went to work.
It started in the second quarter when Glen Mills went on a 13-play, 59-yard drive, all running plays, that ended with a one-yard run by Sahmetrice Logan, making the score 14-7 (Glen Mills made all four two-point conversions after missing the first one).
Bulls senior running back Quadir Gibson dominated the game once he got warmed up. His third carry on Glen Mills opening drive was for 30 yards; his fifth was a 25-yard touchdown run.
Gibson finished the first half with 129 yards on 15 carries. He tallied 159 yards on 20 carries and two touchdowns for the game.
“I was good but I couldn’t do it without my offensive line,” the 5-foot-11, 234-pounder said. “We’ve been working, working, working hard every week at practice and tonight it paid off. We finally got our chemistry together, we all bought in and now it’s time to take off on a winning streak.”
Owens said this is who the Battling Bulls (1-3) are this season.
“We’re a running team,” he said. “We have a big, strong running back, so running the ball is our game. (Quadir) did a great job.”
Glen Mills quarterback Tarik Bey overcame a tough first half to finish 6 of 11 for 91 yards and a 32-yard touchdown pass to Roshawn Leday.
Offensive line coach Jamal Gilliard was beaming after the game.
“That’s Glen Mills football,” Gilliard said. “We ground and pound. Quadir is our back and we feed him the ball.”
Gilliard talked about his offensive line that controlled the night.
“The entire offensive line from our left tackle Justin Smith, left guard Mekhi Sadler, center Mustafa Elkhashab, right guard Jahrell Arrington, to the anchor of the line, our right tackle Ernest Peoples, they were all solid tonight.”
Gilliard said Owens and the rest of the coaching staff have faith that Gibson can handle this kind of workload in addition to his work on special teams.
“Absolutely, he’s the leader of the team,” Gilliard said. “He’s been playing for a couple of seasons and we rely on him.”
And their big man delivered last night.