JENKINTOWN >> In order to carry his team to a victory Saturday, Luke Gutowski first had to take the field.
The quarterback for Delaware County Christian School, Gutowski threw himself to the ground in a flustered state. The team trainer hurriedly stretched out Gutowski’s left hamstring, and enabled the senior to lead the Knights’ most important drive of the game.
A one-play drive, that is. Gutowski scrambled 61 yards for a touchdown with 1:47 to go, securing Delco Christian’s 29-20 win over Jenkintown in the Bicentennial Athletic League opener for both teams.
Jenkintown had applied a bit of pressure on the previous possession, with quarterback Patrick Morrin delivering his third touchdown pass of the afternoon and drawing the Drakes to within two points of the lead, at 22-20. Gutowski’s heroics, on the first play of Delco Christian’s ensuing drive, removed any remaining intrigue around which the team would come away with the win.
“I was cramping up the whole game,” said Gutowski, who played every snap. “It was a big moment. I stood up and did what I needed to do. Our center, Obinna (Nwobodo), that was all him. Our whole line did a great job today with blocking and that (touchdown) was because of them.”
Gutowski scored the final two touchdowns for Delco Christian (2-1), which racked up 248 yards rushing. Gutowski accounted for a team-best 144 of that total, on 18 rushes. Jared Nesbitt had 120 yards on 12 totes, and Jalen Mitchell carried 18 times for 82 yards.
This marked Delco Christian’s first trip to Jenkintown since the Drakes walloped the Knights, 34-6, in last season’s District 1 1A championship.
“You want to play your best game every game, but when a team beats you like that in the playoffs, you want to make sure you beat them the next time around,” said Mitchell, a running back/defensive back who contributed a touchdown and an interception.
Jenkintown, which trailed at halftime, 15-7, found the end zone first following intermission. Morrin’s 13-yard strike to Adam Giammanco trimmed the Drakes’ deficit to 15-13.
And while Delco Christian chewed up nearly six minutes of game clock, its drive stalled near midfield. For a team that seldom punts, this seemed like an opportune moment for the Knights to pin Jenkintown deep in its territory.
So the Knights did.
Gutowski’s 51-yard punt doomed the Drakes’ next drive and, ultimately, gave Delco Christian the chance to strike. Twelve plays, 57 yards, and seven minutes later, Gutowski scored the first of his two fourth-quarter touchdowns.
“Coach (Drew Pearson) came to me and asked me to do it, and I’ve never had a better punt in my life,” Gutowski said. “I remember last year on this field, I punted one and it went straight up, and then went backward and lost yards.
“It was a great call because (the Drakes) were playing great defense and I don’t know if we would’ve had it at the end.”
Six of Delco Christian’s players were on the field for every snap, including a gimpy Gutowski and Mitchell.
“Pretty soon, it won’t be like that,” Mitchell said. “We’ll be getting more rest. We’ve got freshmen buying into what we’re doing, and we’ve added four players since the start of the season; two last week, two this week. We’ll keep adding players and keep getting better, starting next week at Morrisville.”