THORNBURY -- Just one look -- followed by another -- was what it took for Glen Mills to get over a very unfamiliar hump Friday night. By all standings accounts, the Bulls were having their worst season in recent memory. They jogged cautiously into their homecoming party carrying an 0-4 record. Oh and four? ""A couple of guys, including myself, we had our heads down for a little while because of that,'' said Glen Mills receiver Maurice Ryant. ""But we pulled together tonight. We proved we can win games.'' Picked a good time for it, too. The Bulls' 39-22 victory over Academy Parksignified a successful start to Glen Mills' defense of its Del Val League National Conference crown, which made losses to nonleague feared foes Berwick, Monsignor Bonner, Bishop McDevitt (Harrisburg) and Archbishop Carroll (Washington D.C.) a bit easier to take. ""After those games, through the films, they saw that a lot of the reasons why we lost those games were mistakes that we'd made ourselves,'' said Glen Mills coach Ken Banks. ""Basically, I told them that in my eyes, those four games were scrimmages. And that tonight, our season was starting.'' This Glen Mills revival at home also came at the expense of an Academy Park team (0-1 league, 2-3 overall) that was less than half the Bulls' size in number, and almost that in physical stature. It came via two quick first quarter touchdowns by a Bulls ground attack off a Power-I that the Knights simply weren't prepared for, and the track marks on their facemasks before the game was 10 minutes old supplied some soiled evidence. But in the end, this first win for Glen Mills wouldn't come all that easily. Instead of a Bulls bicep blowout, this Glen Mills win had to be iced by two of the smallest kids on the team: A 5-10, 154-pound slippery stringbean of a quarterback by the name of Mcguel Bays, and the 5-9, 144-pound Ryant, who ended his coming out party with three touchdowns and 140 all-purpose yards. The Bulls were staked to the early lead on a 20-yard bootleg around left end by Bays with 9:43 left in the first quarter, and a nine-yard run by Jamar Butler (17 carries, 129 yards) one possession later. Meanwhile, the Knights were chewing up a lot of yardage and time behind the running of James Carmichael, but couldn't cash in any of it. Yet. ""We didn't know what they were doing at first,'' admitted Carmichael, who doubles as a linebacker. ""We didn't know they would come out with three backs (in the Power-I). But then our coaches figured it out and we started to shut them down. ""We were moving the ball, so we figured if we were able to keep our head in the game, we'd be all right.'' Unfortunately for AcademyPark, that comeback plan was struck down by thunder from the sky. Bays saw that AP had started to isolate Ryant with one lone cornerback. One nifty 33-yard touchdown pass later, it was 21-0. And still the first quarter hadn't ended. It looked like the game had ended five minutes into the second quarter, when once again Bays (70 rushing yards, 92 passing) hooked up with Ryant, this time on a 39-yard perfect post pattern off a third-and-one, and again against man-to-man coverage. ""If they come play me man to man close up, I usually have no problem getting past them,'' said Ryant. ""And I knew if I could get him (defensive back Jeremy Klein) the first time, I could get him the second time.'' That wasn't too hard for Ryant to figure out -- this was his eighth touchdown catch of a season that still is very young. The game, however, was young, too. And the Knights knew it. With Carmichael slicing and weaving through Glen Mills' fearsome but frustrated defenders, AP slowly collected itself, only to fumble away a couple of second-quarter drives. But with all of 16 seconds left, quarterback Tim Flynn found Chris Ferrari in the corner of the end zone off a desperate fourth-down pass, and then ran in a conversion to cut the huge gap to 27-8 at the half. ""They may have been 0-4, but they may have been the most impressive 0-4 team in the United States,'' Academy Park coach Sal Oropollo said of Glen Mills. ""So, give credit where credit is due. They moved the ball on offense and kicked our butts early. ""But our kids didn't lay down.'' Not even after Ryant -- yes, him again -- returned a punt 48 yards early in the third quarter for a touchdown that made it 33-8. Academy Park hung in there, and with 7:50 left to play cut it to 33-14 on another TD toss from Flynn to Ferrari. But a 39-yard interception return for touchdown by Walter Mitchell ended all doubts for Glen Mills -- but didn't end the scoring. Calling desperation timeouts during a long drive, the Knights kept driving against a dying clock, and finally Carmichael closed a brilliant personal game on both sides of the ball by zig-zagging 27 yards for a score with six seconds left to play. ""We wanted to score,'' said Carmichael, who rushed for 155 yards via 26 carries on the busy night. ""We felt like we could score and then have the onside kick. To the last whistle, we felt like we could win the game.'' Glen Mills 39, Academy Park 22
Academy Park 0 8 0 14 -- 22> Glen Mills 21 6 6 6 -- 39>
GM -- Bays 20 run (Tellez kick)
GM -- Butler 9 run (Tellez kick)
GM -- Ryant 33 pass from Bays (Tellez kick)
AP -- Ferrari 6 pass from Flynn (Flynn run)
GM -- Ryant 48 punt return (kick blocked)
AP -- Ferrari 23 pass from Flynn (pass failed)
GM -- Mitchell 39 INT return (run failed)
AP -- Carmichael 27 run (Hornung pass from Flynn)
TEAM STATISTICS APGM
RUSHING -- Academy Park: Carmichael 26-155, Smart 10-33, Klein 3-(-7), Flynn 6-(-18). Glen Mills: Butler 17-129, Scott 4-8, Bays 14-70, Alexander 3-6.
PASSING -- Academy Park: Flynn 7-15-1, 138. Glen Mills: Bays 3-8-1, 92.
RECEIVING -- Academy Park: Klein 1-22, Ferrari 6-116. Glen Mills: Ryant 3-92.