BRISTOL — Delco Christian failed to keep pace with Bristol in all three phases of the game Friday and fell on the road for its first loss of the season, 40-24, in its Bicentennial League opener.
Special teams was an issue early and often for the Knights, who allowed Bristol's Donte Simmons to return the opening kickoff for an 82-yard touchdown to put the Knights in an early 7-0 hole.
The versatile Knights offense recovered quickly and systematically drove the ball 55 yards on their opening drive that lasted four and a half minutes and culminated in a 10-yard touchdown run by senior halfback David Goines.
"We were focused on this game,' Goines said. "We knew what we had to do. We practiced Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and we did everything that we did right Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday. And we brought it in the first quarter. And we put up some points on the board.'
Goines finished with 19 carries for 102 yards.
The Knights spread their carries evenly on the drive between their three-back set that features Ron Burrell, Zeph Ellis and Goines.
But Bristol picked up right where it left off and answered with an impressive touchdown drive of its own to make the score 13-8 following a missed extra point.
With most of the Knights players playing both offense and defense, it came at a price. On defense they struggled to make key stops, Bristol having to punt just once.
"[Playing on both sides of the ball] is a huge challenge, but I don't know if it was the difference in the game,' Knights head coach Drew Pearson said. "But they just outplayed us. Our guys do have to get into better shape. Yeah, everyone's going both ways, but we know that as a staff, our players know that. But that wasn't a factor into the win or loss. At the end of the day you gotta shake their hand and say ' good game.''
Following Bristol's second touchdown drive, the Knights fumbled the kickoff return, giving away prime field position, and Bristol converted again. It took just three plays and two completions by quarterback Trevor Leone to move the ball from the 14-yard line for a touchdown to a wide open Bristol receiver.
Knights senior quarterback Gator Grim had some success early, but saw less opportunities to throw as the game progressed. He completed his first pass of the game -- a 13-yard pass to his younger brother Jack Grim -- on their opening drive to set up the Goines touchdown run.
Grim threw for 35 yards, all of which came in the first half, and went 3-for-4 passing, including a four-yard touchdown pass to Jack Grim with 38 seconds left in the second half to bring their team within 10.
Unfortunately for the Knights, they scored just one second-half touchdown on a 38-yard touchdown by Nazim Trammell-Wells with 35 seconds left.
"We want to build a championship program the right way,' Pearson said. "It's not going to be easy. This is just growing pains. Sometimes you're gonna get knocked down."