Senior Mike Are did not play for Bristol High's football team until last year, choosing instead to compete for the community's youth programs – the Wildcats and Wardogs.
And Bristol coach John Greiner was quick to credit those clubs for the development of Are and others after the Warriors blanked Jenkintown, 31-0, in Saturday afternoon's Class A subregional playoff.
"Our kids learned a lot from the coaching they got when they were with our feeder squads," Greiner said. "That definitely can't be overlooked."
Are escaped for touchdowns runs of 61 and 65 yards as the visitors dominated he injury-depleted Drakes. Bristol, which began the season with just 18 players and now dresses 22, and Jenkintown are District 1 and Bicentennial Athletic League rivals.
On the first play of the second quarter, Are found a right-side seam, zipped toward the sideline, and left a pack of defenders in his dust.
"I knew if I scored there, it was going to give us momentum and that we would be able to keep things rolling," the 6-foot-1, 175-pounder said.
>>PHOTO GALLERY: Scenes from Bristol's 31-0 win over Jenkintown
In a regional tournament that also includes District 2, the Warriors (6-4) will take on Northeastern Pennsylvania's Lackawanna Trail (10-1) next weekend at a neutral site and time to be determined.
Are, who is a handyman on offense and an outside linebacker and end on defense, played for the Wildcats in eighth and ninth grades. He switched to the Wardogs in 10th grade.
"He's probably one of the toughest kids I've ever coached, mentally and physically," Greiner said.
Greiner, who received a celebratory dousing of ice water in the final minute, is in his fourth year in charge at Bristol after spending 15 seasons as an assistant at Pennsbury.
The Warriors' two other second-quarter scores, Lucas Bogarde's 4-yard run and Lynn Anthony's 64-yard interception return, made it 18-0 at intermission.
Are (six carries for 161 yards) and Bogarde (12 for 54) led the way as Bristol netted 295 yards rushing on 40 attempts.
Already missing two-way back Bert Koniers due to an injured ankle, matters worsened for Jenkintown when quarterback C.J. Jackmon was sidelined late in the first quarter by a knee injury. His replacement, Adam Giammanco, rushed 21 times for 97 yards.
In reversing a 24-21 loss to the Drakes on Oct. 12, Bristol allowed the Drakes only 111 yards rushing, on 39 tries, and 10 passing.
The defensive charge was headed by linebackers Bogarde and Allen Reyes, ends Kaylum Moore and Michael Sloan, and safety Adam Lopez. After his second touchdown jaunt early in the third stanza, Are recovered a fumble.
Bristol 0 18 13 0 – 31
Jenkintown 0 0 0 0 – 0
B: Mike Are 61 run (kick failed)
B: Lucas Bogarde 4 run (kick blocked)
B: Lynn Anthony 64 interception return (run failed)
B: Are 65 run (Kevin Farrell kick)