THORNBURY — By Glen Mills' admittedly adjusted standards, Tre Easter-Geary is a grizzled veteran at the school.
The senior defensive end is in his second year at the school, which means that he's seen and done it all. He's not exactly a grandfather figure out there, but he's got the experience to his name to back up the strong game he's been putting forth.
Easter-Geary has blossomed this year, earning a spot on the All-Del Val League team and developing into one of the area's top down linemen. But nearly 24 hours before the Battlin' Bulls were due to take on league rival Academy Park Friday night at Ridley at 7, Easter-Geary was more focused on what his team has been able to accomplish.
"It still feels kind of unreal,' Easter-Geary said. "I really won't feel it until if we actually win, but it would mean a lot to the school. It'll be the first time we've ever played (in a district title) game. ... In the beginning of the season, it looked just like last year — 5-5 season. We lost a couple (early games), but we turned it around and won seven straight.'
A big reason for that has been a brick wall of a defense that's forcing turnovers at a ridiculous pace. The Bulls have picked off eight passes and recovered six forced fumbles in their two playoff wins, meaning there's not much deception as to how Kevin Owens' team has been able to keep teams off the scoreboard.
"We just let the ball flow. We like getting the ball back for our offense. When our offense is going, they can't stop ' em,' inside linebacker Douglas Coburn said. "That's why we like to get them on the field and get them on the field a lot. Their momentum gets up and that's when they start putting points up on the board. ... That's a big part of our victories is getting the turnovers.'
The Bulls (9-3) will need their defense to be its usual suffocating self against the Knights' explosive offense that's paced by All-Delco running back Jerry Lanier. Lanier has only been held to fewer than 100 yards in one game this year, a 74-yard night in a loss to Pennridge when he sat the second half after suffering an injury, but Glen Mills was able to limit him to 123 yards on 20 carries in its 20-13 regular-season win over AP (9-2).
The senior back has torn through the record books and holds the fourth-highest single-season yardage tally in Delco history with 2,030 and counting, and because of that, Coburn is expecting to find himself getting re-acquainted with Lanier a couple of times on the Ridley turf.
"I've got to stay on my toes. I can't take any plays off because if I take a play off, that's a play that he can break and score a long one, so I've got to make sure I'm on top of my game,' Coburn said.
Defensive tackle Dante Robinson admitted that there were doubters at Glen Mills to start the year, especially when the Bulls started 2-3 with nonleague losses to powerhouses Ridley, Inter-Ac co-champion Malvern Prep and Delaware's top-rated team, Salesianum. Fast forward to Friday, and the Bulls are the big men on campus.
"Everybody's surprised,' Robinson said. "There wasn't anyone that thought we could do it. We're showing everybody that we can. We just came together. The coaches have been on us all season telling us that we need to work hard if we want to get what we want. Everybody's been working hard to get what we want.'
With that District One title so close to Glen Mills' grasp, Robinson knows what time it is.
"It's time to eat,' Robinson said, "and I'm hungry.'