Football fortune smiled on Lansdale Catholic coach Tom Kirk with two talented running backs to choose from this season.
The glut of rushers is particularly fortuitous considering neither of the Crusaders’ ball carriers played running back as recently as last season.
Current sophomore running back Danny Dutkiewicz played wide receiver last year.
Senior running back Matt Casee said goodbye to football altogether in his sophomore year so he could focus on baseball.
Last week, the duo led the Crusaders to the District 12 Class 3A championship. They are also my latest co-city players of the week (Public, Catholic and Inter-Ac leagues).
“They truly are happy for one another,” Kirk said. “If one guy has 100 yards, the other guy is just as happy.”
They must have been all smiles last week in the Crusaders’ 41-12 win against High School of the Future.
Casee finished with 173 yards and two touchdowns on 14 carries, while Dutkiewicz added 137 and two more scores on 15 carries.
The duo will face Future again in a sub-regional semifinal on Saturday at 1 p.m. at the South Philadelphia Supersite.
“In our program, we haven’t won a championship since 2007, so we had our eyes on it,” Casee said. “We knew we had to play well and that’s exactly what we did.”
Casee started as a freshman but pressed pause on his football career to focus on being a centerfielder. A torn ligament in his right (throwing) elbow, however, ended his baseball career.
“It was disappointing,” he said. “But it led me back to football, so I’m happy to be back.”
Dutkiewicz played running back growing up but still had to adjust to the physicality of high school this season.
“It’s different getting the ball a lot of the plays and getting hit every play,” he said with a chuckle.
Casee leads the team in rushing (963 yards) and touchdowns (12), while Dutkiewicz ranks second with 860 and six.
Casee, a team captain, said he has tried to help Dutkiewicz learn the position’s nuances. The leadership he has shown, Kirk said, has only made the tandem more dangerous.
“Running to them comes naturally, blocking does not,” Kirk said. “But the only way they have success is if the other one is blocking for the other.”
More top performers
Malvern Prep senior O’Shaan Allison rushed for 136 yards and two scores on 13 carries in the Friars’ rout of Germantown Academy.
West Catholic sophomore Jacir Savoy netted 137 yards and two touchdowns on just eight carries in the Burrs’ demolition of Bristol.
Cardinal O’Hara senior Justin Santilla caught five passes for 117 yards and a score in the Lions’ 4A final win against Bonner-Prendie.
In defeat, King senior wideout Qaadir Dixon caught 9 passes for 122 yards and three touchdowns.
Penn Charter senior wideout John Washington caught four balls for 122 yards and three touchdowns, while junior Edward Saydee rushed for 141 yards and two touchdowns on 23 carriers in the Quakers’ win against Episcopal.
Coaches, want to nominate a player? Email email@example.com by the end of Sunday each week with your player’s name, height, weight, grade and stats from that week or why they should be considered. Coaches’ submissions only.*