Malvern Football completes a Perfect Season


Matt Lanetti

Back in August, it was quite clear that the Friars had talent. But, as their slogan states, they had to “Earn it.”

For the first time in Malvern football history, the team completed an 11-0 season. While other Malvern teams have finished undefeated, none have won this amount of games in a season without a loss.

The Friars played a rigorous schedule, making their season even more special. They faced off against nationally ranked opponents such as the Peddie School, the McDonogh School, and Berks Catholic. They also won the Inter-Ac title outright for a second straight season.

Malvern, led by Head Coach Dave Gueriera, progressed through their schedule one game at a time.

“Our mentality of going 1-0 each week really kept us grounded for the season,” Gueriera said. “[When] you’re satisfied or content you open yourself up to other teams knocking you off the top, so we would talk about being the hunted, which is a lot different than being the hunter. Being the hunted, you have to dig deeper each week.”

This mentality of winning one game at a time and striving for greatness started back in the summer.

“Our preseason goals were to eliminate mistakes that were self-inflicted, be better on third downs, and have unbelievable chemistry, not just with the seniors, but with the program,” Gueriera said. “I do feel like we accomplished all of those goals.”

The 22 seniors on the roster played a big part in instilling this winning mentality from the start.  They established a tight-knit bond that translated to each practice and game.

“I think this season we had a really close team, and that was a big part of our success,” senior captain and linebacker Nick Gueriera said. “The brotherhood that we had was directly connected to [our] success.”

The Friars’ unity on the field was unique, and they constantly had fun while playing with each other.

“My mom would always say that our team was so special,” senior and defensive tackle John Turley said. “We were just playing football; it was backyard football again.”

That being said, each player was extremely committed and focused on their goals for the season.  

“We pride [ourselves] on doing the little things,” senior captain and quarterback Drew Gunther said. “Off the field we watch film by ourselves instead of playing Fortnite all night, just getting a couple minutes of film in. Whether it is eating right, or working out on your own, everybody earned it together.”

The season was not easy by any means. For example, the Friars trailed the Peddie School by two touchdowns in the fourth quarter.  At this point, full safety and senior TyGee Leach intercepted a pass that changed the momentum in that game and for the rest of the year.  Coach Gueriera pointed this play out as one of the season’s most memorable moments.

“To me, it was the turning point of the game, but really charted our course for the rest of the season,” Gueriera said. “The play he made, he picked off a pass and took it back to the two yard line. It changed our season.”

The Friars continued on a hot winning streak and carried it to the final game of the year. This was the most emotional game for the team, especially the seniors.

“Playing for Malvern football for seven years, it’s tough knowing that this was my least season,” senior and defensive end Harry Stinger said. “I knew I would never be able to play with some of these guys again, but I am happy that we went off with a high note.”

“We knew we could go undefeated, and we wanted to be the greatest team in Malvern Prep football history,” Gunther said. “Then, going out and actually achieving this was an incredible feeling.”

Going forward, Coach Gueriera thinks that the team is in good hands with the underclassmen.

“I think the culture is rock solid,” Coach Gueriera said. “I think the rising seniors, juniors,and sophomores will carry that torch on. But, there’s still a chapter to be written in that book. They have to come and work their tails off in the offseason and prepare themselves. I feel really good about our future.”