Two wins for Morrisville is more than Bulldogs had in two seasons

MORRISVILLE – Somebody pinch me, please.

Did someone say that the Morrisville Bulldogs are 2-1, heading into week four of the football season?

They did; the Bulldogs have exactly two more wins than they recorded in their previous two campaigns, registering a heart-stopping 38-34 win over Nativity BVM Sept. 4 at Veterans Memorial Stadium in Saint Clair then coasting to a 40-6 thrashing of Immaculate Conception (Montclair) Sept. 18 at Robert Morris Stadium.

“We were on an 0-for-20 kick to start the year and coming off the 10 (losses) last year, we needed to get one,” said Morrisville head coach Derrick Savage at the Coaches Roundtable Wednesday night, Sept. 23 at Sandy’s Beef & Ale in Langhorne.

“It was good that it happened in the first game of the season.”

Beating BVM wasn’t an easy win either, not by any stretch of the imagination, as the Bulldogs trailed 22-0 after the first quarter. After the initial frame, the tide started to turn.

Down 28-6 in the second quarter, junior Braedon Alward caught a pass at the line of scrimmage, juked a defender and coasted to a 63-yard touchdown, his second TD aerial in the period that drew Morrisville no closer than 28-13 by the halftime gun.

Still, something changed after Alward’s fantastic run.

“We felt like we were in control of the game at that point,” explained Savage. “We felt like we had given them some of their scores.”

Nativity senior running back Marcus Renninger and sophomore quarterback Ryan McDonald had each rushed for a pair of scores but hear this. Morrisville fumbled deep in BVM territory to set up a short field. The Bulldogs also had a ball glance off a receiver’s hands and into the open arms of a Nativity defender, setting up another score by the opponent.

“We felt like we had given them at least two of their touchdowns if not, the third.”

“We kind of felt good about where we were at.”

Still trailing by 15 in the second half, Domierre White caught a screen pass and bolted 81 yards down the sideline, sidestepping a safety on his way to the end zone.

After that, it was the defense’s time to shine. Linebacker Josh Smith jumped an out route and raced 85 yards for the score that drew the ‘Dawgs within two.

While Nativity answered with a four-play, 33-yard touchdown drive that made it 34-26, freshman James Williams picked a ball off at the 40 and raced 60 yards for the score.

While Morrisville failed in its second straight attempt at tying the game with a 2-point conversion, the defense came through again, falling on a BVM fumble at the opponent’s 38 yard line. Operating out of the shotgun, the Dawgs called for a draw. With Nativity blitzing, it was the perfect play as Zymir Williams ran 16 yards up the middle for the go-ahead and decisive score.

The night for the Morrisville defense was not over as the ‘Dawgs needed to stop Nativity twice in the final moments of the fourth quarter. Only minutes after forcing the Hilltoppers to turn it over on downs, BVM was driving once again into Bulldog territory. Down to the 30, Nativity QB Ryan McDonald lofted a ball to a receiver that was tipped by Zymir Williams before coming down into the hands of Morrisville’s Nick Kremer.

Only then was it time to celebrate.

On the way home from Allentown, the Bulldogs rejoiced over their first win in three seasons.

“It was really good for them,” explained Savage, “because they worked so hard in the offseason to get ready for this year.”

Ever since the Nativity win, football in Morrisville is just different this season, says Savage.

“It’s so important to get off on the right foot. It’s changed our mindset and our mentality of how we go about doing things.”

For his part, senior quarterback Mike Sacco completed just four passes but all told, the aerials accounted for 171 yards. The senior signal-caller threw for another 134 yards in the win over Immaculate Conception including a 63-yard TD aerial to Zymir Williams.

“Mike’s been tremendous so far this year,” said Savage. “He’s making good decisions with the ball and we’re not turning the ball over.”

Last year, one of the knocks on Sacco was turnovers so Savage revamped the offense, making it more suitable to the quarterback’s skill-set.

“The results so far have been pretty positive,” said the coach. “He’s making good reads with the ball, he’s getting it out to the guys we need to get it to.

“We needed to get our athletes in space in order to give them a chance and he’s done that.”

Anchoring the space in the backfield is junior Zymir Williams and Josh Smith, a senior. Savage likes the combination.

“We like the mix we have with those two guys. We feel confident in any given situation giving either one of them the ball.”

“Zymir is a quick, shifty guy but he’s not afraid to put his shoulder down and run you over either.

“Josh is more of a downhill, right-at-you runner.

“Zymir’s next gear separates him from Josh. Josh is quick and he can get out and run. Zymir – when he hits that next gear – he can go.”

Anchoring the offensive line are, among others, the tackles sophomore Ed Winder, sophomore Givenson Charles and junior Anthony Hernandez. The guards are junior Nick Kremer along with sophomores Zaire Merritt and Breon Hines. Snapping the ball is junior Joe Jacobs at center.

“They are the big horses up front and they’ve done a great job,” said Savage. “We challenged them to set the tone for the team and they have.”

Defensively, Kremer (23 tackles vs Immaculate Conception) is coming through at middle linebacker while Jacobs is disrupting the opposition up front at tackle.

Additionally, sophomores Noah Collazo and Joey Alvarez are doing a nice job sharing a spot on the D-line. Collazo never played football before this season but he’s 5-8, 270 so he’s a big man to move off the ball.

Domierre White has also been dominating at linebacker along with freshman Michael Tirado and James Williams.

Really, says Savage, there’s not a man on the roster that is not filling some role needed by the Bulldogs.

“Everyone, top to bottom, is stepping up,” said Savage. “And that’s the one thing we remind them before every game. It’s going to take everybody because it really HAS taken everyone to get to where we’re at.”

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