NEWTOWN SQUARE >> Delco Christian junior running back/linebacker Luke Gutowski and his teammates had a decision to make at the beginning of the season.
After losing a number of key contributors from a year ago to both graduation and off-field issues, they could have failed to develop a strong, cohesive team or show why they’re the defending Bicentennial League champions.
After dropping their first four games, the Knights have won three of their last four games, including a 20-14 victory over Morrisville on Saturday at Marple Newtown High School. Gutowski believes the decision to play through adversity has been the difference in the team’s recent play.
“Coach (Drew Pearson) said we could go one way or the other. We chose the one way where we could go win games and not give up,” Gutowski said. “That’s what we’ve been doing and it’s been working for us.”
Gutowski scored the first touchdown of the game on a two-yard run to cap a 12-play drive late in the first quarter. The TD was set up by an 18-yard pass from Jake Allen to Gutowski on fourth-and-nine.
Delco Christian’s defense, led by Gutowski and his brother, Jake, forced Morrisville to turn the ball over on downs at the Knights’ 5-yard line just before the half.
In the second half, the Knights’ full house base formation began to give Morrisville fits. Gutowski scored on the opening drive from 32 yards out, walking into the end zone untouched as the Bulldogs defense followed Allen off the fake to the opposite side of the field. Delco Christian’s next drive ended with a third TD as Chris Chung, who had a team-high 122 yards on 10 carries, sprinted 53 yards on a delayed handoff up the middle.
Morrisville head coach Derrick Savage, whose team surrendered 219 yards on the ground, felt his team was continually caught out of position against the Knights and it cost them.
“We got caught guessing a couple of times on our assignments, and when you’re guessing against a team like that they’re going to make you pay with the way they run things,” Savage said.
As Delco Christian (3-5 overall, 2-3 league) had success after intermission, Morrisville (2-6, 1-3) had their own as Felix Feliciano found Zeek Kershaw for touchdown tosses of 36 and 20 yards, respectively. Feliciano finished 11 for 18 for 155 yards.
The Bulldogs stopped the Knights on fourth down and took over at the Delco Christian 47-yard line down by six with 2:07 remaining. Morrisville was unable to capitalize as they were called for an unsportsmanlike conduct followed by two straight incompletions and finally turned the ball over on downs to halt any chance of a comeback.
Pearson, whose team locked up a meeting with Jenkintown in the PIAA Class A District 1 playoffs with the win, said his team wanted to get this win for the junior Gutowski, who finished with 82 rushing yards, and the team while giving them a chance to play for something more.
“They controlled their destiny right there and they did it,” Pearson said. “Our players really wanted to win this for the seniors and get them into the playoffs. It’s something that they’re accustomed to.”