WILMINGTON – Salesianum junior quarterback Zach Gwynn will likely count Friday night as one of the best birthdays he’s ever had.
Gwynn ran for a touchdown and threw for another, leading a potent offensive attack to help No. 4 Sallies earn a trip to the DIAA Division I football semifinals, defeating fifth-seeded Concord 38-14 at Baynard Stadium.
“It’s awesome, this is the only present I wanted,” said Gwynn. “I woke up this morning just wanting to win and I’m happy we got it.”
Gwynn carried twice for 60 yards on Sallies’ first drive, a 26 yard run on 4th and 7 accounting for the game’s first score.
“He gives us a nice weapon,” Sals head coach Bill DiNardo said of his quarterback. “He can run the ball, he’s capable of throwing the ball really well, so we have a lot of options.”
“Zach is a great dual-threat quarterback,” added junior running back Nicholas Merlino, who had two rushing touchdowns. “This week, we really practiced those bootlegs and with Zach running the other way, it worked extremely well.”
After a Jassiem Lynch interception, Merlino dove into the end zone on a 10-yard run for the first of his two touchdowns on the night to give Salesianum (8-3) a 14-0 lead.
Concord answered with some fourth-down magic of their own as halfback Kyle Batch fired a 36 yard touchdown pass to Jared Hill on 4th and 4 for the Raiders’ first half touchdown.
After another interception, Sallies added a 25-yard field goal by kicker Cooper Urban to start the third quarter and to end it, Gwynn rolled out to his right and found running back Joseph Wesselman in the flat for a 13-yard touchdown pass.
Joshua Patrick and Merlino added touchdowns to close out the scoring for Salesianum, who looks forward to another week in the postseason.
They’ll face either Middletown or Smyrna pending the outcome of Saturday’s William Penn-Sussex Central quarterfinal matchup.
“It’s playoff time. We want to go 1-0 every week,” Gwynn said. “You’re not trying to make the playoffs anymore, it’s win or go home.”
Avery Roberts added a 39-yard fumble return touchdown for Concord, who finished their season at 7-4.