By PETE SCHNATZ
Journal Register News Service
THORNBURY — When Downingtown West’s opening kickoff sailed out of bounds, Glen Mills received an immediate 15-yard upgrade on its field position to start Friday night’s nonleague football game.
What no one in Jack Pearson Stadium could have imagined was that the penalty would prove to be the Battlin’ Bulls’ biggest gain in the first quarter of what ultimately became a 24-7 loss to Downingtown West.
Continuing the offensive struggles evident throughout its season-opening 35-7 loss to Ridley, Glen Mills gained just two yards on its first two drives — and didn’t break through for its initial first down of the night until Khalil Ameer-Bey’s 11-yard burst moved the chains with 10 minutes remaining in the first half.
Yet, despite being outgained 134-60 over the first two quarters and being thoroughly outplayed, the Bulls somehow went to the halftime locker room down only 7-0.
Glen Mills found plenty of offense in the second half in the form of Ameer-Bey, but it wasn’t enough to prevent the Bulls (0-2) from falling.
Ameer-Bey, a diminutive sophomore generously listed at 5-7 and 198 pounds, turned in a yeoman-like performance over the final two quarters. After picking up 52 yards on nine carries in the first half, Ameer-Bey found, and often times created, holes in the Downingtown West defense in the second half, finishing with a career-high 187 yards on 27 carries.
Ameer-Bey provided the Bulls’ lone touchdown with a brilliant 7-yard burst up the middle, cutting the deficit to 17-7 with 1:49 to go in the third quarter.
“I’ll carry the ball as many times as they let me,” Ameer-Bey said. “We just need to keep working hard, and I hope my teammates will look to me for leadership.”
Ameer-Bey also had a 64-yard scoring jaunt in the final period wiped out by a holding penalty, which caused coach Kevin Owens to focus much of his post-game attention on the officiating.
“Khalil’s performance speaks for itself, there are many great things ahead for this young man,” Owens said. “I just think if we had gotten a better effort out of the referees, it would’ve been different. It seemed like every big run we had, we would get a holding call to bring it back.”
While it did appear that the Bulls walked back to the line of scrimmage countless times when a yellow flag wiped out a big play, Glen Mills was actually penalized nine times for 65 yards compared to the Whippets’ five fouls for 40 yards.
The real culprit was another slow start out of the gate by the Bulls’ offense, which totaled 212 yards of total offense — and most of that came courtesy of Ameer-Bey.
The Whippets (2-0), meanwhile, focused much of their offense on senior running back Tino Bunhu, who rushed for 120 yards and two touchdowns on 19 carries.
Bunhu also had help, with backfield mates Mitch Meleski (12 carries, 61 yards) and Nick Pagel (late touchdown pass) lending a hand.
Downingtown West 24, Glen Mills 7
Downingtown West 0 7 10 7 -- 24
Glen Mills 0 0 7 0 -- 7
DW- Bunhu 1 run (Caruso kick)
DW- Caruso 30 field goal
DW- Bunhu 20 run (Caruso kick)
GM- Ameer-Bey 7 run (Bolanos kick)
DW- Schmitt 5 pass from Pagel (Caruso kick)
First downs 16 8
Yards rushing 236 195
Yards passing 29 17
Total yards 265 212
Passing 6-13-0 3-9-0
Fumbles-Lost 1-1 1-0
Penalties 5-40 9-65
Punts-Avg. 3-28.6 6-35.5
Rushing: Downingtown West — Bunhu 19-120, Meleski 12-61, Pagel 7-44, Boyer 1-10, Egan 1-3, DiSantis 2-(minus-2). Glen Mills — Ameer-Bey 27-187, Seldon 5-13, Cooper 2-3, Brown 1-(minus-1), Cheatham 5-(minus-7).
Passing: Downingtown West — Pagel 6-13-0, 29 yards. Glen Mills — Cheatham 3-9-0, 17 yards.
Receiving: Downingtown West — Meleski 3-14, Schmitt 2-15, Bunhu 1-0. Glen Mills — Brown 2-9, Smith 1-8.