NEWTOWN SQUARE >> Delco Christian head coach Drew Pearson doesn’t want to make excuses for the shortage of players he has on his roster. Having to continually alternate players on both offense and defense makes it tough to keep guys fresh but that’s why Pearson focuses on using the run game to give his team some breathing room.
The only issue arises when the other team is able to stack the box and not give his Knights much of a chance.
Delco Christian was limited to 120 total yards and turned the ball over four times in a 27-0 loss Saturday to Valley Forge Military Academy at Episcopal Academy. Delco Christian’s offense racked up all of its yardage on the ground and quarterback Jake Allen attempted a single pass.
But Pearson doesn’t want players pointing fingers at one another or being too down on themselves.
“Our kids know how many keys players that we have lost over the last 12 months. We’ve had a rash of injuries unlike anything I’ve ever seen,” Pearson said. “You look at every one of our games and it gets hard when you don’t have bodies.”
Pearson added how he’s “confident our best football is ahead of us,” and early on there were some indications of that.
The Knights’ game plan of running the clock and relying on their defense appeared to work during the first half.
Linebacker Luke Gutowski forced a fumble from running back Audley Isaacs at the Trojans’ 18-yard line to stop a potential touchdown. On the Trojans’ next possession, the Knights forced a missed field goal and Gutowski felt good about where his team stood at that point.
“We moved the ball well at times but I’m glad we didn’t give up,” Gutowski said. “We kept running, gained yards and just kept playing.”
After only allowing one touchdown in the first half, a five-yard scamper by Peyton Small with 34 seconds remaining, things began to unravel for the Knights in the second as they turned the ball over on downs to open the half. On the ensuing possession, Isaacs, who finished with 129 yards on 19 carries, used the good field position his offense was given by tallying 39 rushing yards on four plays, capped off with a six-yard score.
The Trojans (1-2, 1-1) had 228 rushing yards, led by Isaacs and Small (87 yards), and had runs of 28, 23, 21 and 20 over the course of the game. Isaacs said his team changed up some things at the break to have some success against the Knights defense.
“I felt they were spreading (us) out and stacking one side,” he said. “We had to change it up.”
While Valley Forge’s rushing attack gave the Knights’ defense fits, their defense had an impressive day of its own. The Trojan defenders limited Delco Christian (0-3, 0-1) to 41 total yards in the first half and Isaacs helped finished off the unit’s strong day by returning a fumble by Allen 58 yards for a touchdown on the final play of the game.
VFMA head coach Mike Korom commended his team on its execution of the game plan.
“We knew they ran the ball; we worked to make sure we could stop the run, which is what we did and that was the key to the game,” Korom said. “Even when they tried to bring the quarterback outside, we had that covered very well.”
The Knights’ longest play from scrimmage was a 10-yard rumble from Gutowski in the third quarter after Allen had put them in great position with a kickoff return to the Trojans’ 45-yard line, but they were unable to convert that drive into points as it culminated in another turnover.