St. Charles East football coach Mike Fields certainly didn't sound like the winning coach after his team's 42-16 Upstate Eight Conference River Division victory over visiting Elgin Friday night.
"We got off to a slow start and I credit Elgin for a lot of that," said Fields. "They came out and punched us in the mouth. I don't think our guys came out as hard as they should have."
After Jaylen Clemons returned the opening kickoff 51 yards to the Saints' 45-yard line, the Maroons (0-5, 0-3) earned a pair of first downs and marched inside the red zone.
Dontrelle Gaddy's 8-yard gain set up a 3rd-and-1 play at the Saints' 6. St. Charles East senior linebacker Michael Candre stopped Clemons for a 9-yard loss on third down and quarterback Ryan Sitter was brought down by Geno Rogers a few yards short of the sticks on fourth down to halt the drive.
"We probably should have put our head down but we tried to bounce it (outside) and lost some yards there on third down," said Elgin coach Kyle Rohde. "If we score there, maybe it's a tighter game in the first half."
The Saints' first offensive possession also was a bit shaky as Gaddy's interception gave the ball back to the Maroons.
"We came out flat -- there's no excuse," said Fields.
After forcing a 3-and-out series, the Saints (4-1, 2-0) capped a 6-play, 57-yard drive with a 5-yard touchdown pass from Jimmy Mitchell (11 of 18, 259 yards) to Mitch Munroe to grab a 7-0 lead.
Defensive back Vince Locascio recovered a fumble to set up the Saints' next score -- a 24-yard TD pass from Mitchell to Munroe -- to make it 14-0.
Munroe tallied his third touchdown of the game, this time on a 34-yard run, as part of the Saints' 21-point second quarter.
"We got him the ball quickly," Mitchell said of Munroe. "If he gets out in the open nobody is going to catch him."
"I thought Mitch played a great game," said Fields.
Mitchell tossed a pair of second-quarter TD passes -- a 57-yard strike to Brannon Barry (3 catches, 78 yards) and a 10-yard toss to A.J. Washington -- to make it 35-0 at halftime.
"Brannon had a nice game," said Fields. "It was nice to see him just on the offensive side (tonight)."
Mitchell fired his fifth TD pass of the night to his fourth different receiver on the Saints' first possession of the second half -- a 43-yard completion to Phil Hopper -- to make it 42-0 and begin a running clock.
"That's what we want to do," said Mitchell, who now has thrown 17 TD passes for the season against just 4 interceptions. "We try to give everyone touches."
Elgin snapped the Saints' shutout bid midway through the fourth quarter on Sitter's 1-yard quarterback sneak. Sitter's (16 of 29, 243 yards) 67-yard TD pass to Clemons with 51 seconds remaining closed out the scoring.
"We're learning," said Rohde. "This was a way better game than last week against St. Charles North (49-0 loss)."
St. Charles East visits Geneva (3-2) next weekend.
"For where we want to be and where the guys have set their expectations, we've got to get a lot better," said Fields. "Our kids have got a lot of work to do."