By Jim Sullivan
---- — Newburyport football captain Dillon Guthro sports an attitude that should make anyone feel good about the future.
“I feel an obligation to serve my country,” said Guthro, who would like to serve as a Navy Seal when he leaves NHS. “I feel that the United States has given me so many opportunities that I want to defend the country so that kids in the future can have the same opportunities that I had.”
At the moment, Guthro’s future looks bright. The defensive and tight end who tied the Cape Ann League for most sacks in his sophomore year and was named the CAL Defensive Player of the Year during his junior season, has had a busy summer, participating in seven positional football camps since June.
The 6-foot-3, 215-pound senior (his friends call him “Gut”) has been showing off his talents at such schools as Colgate University, Lafayette College, UMass Amherst, the University of Connecticut, Boston College, Holy Cross and the University of New Hampshire.
“It’s been really fun,” Guthro said of his summer so far. “You get to meet a lot of different people at these camps. It gives you a lot of perspective for sure. I didn’t know that other high schools can run spring football. Newburyport doesn’t do that, but a lot of other high schools, especially in the South do. But it all comes down to how you play. You could play year-round, but if somebody else has more motivation then you, then it’s not going to matter. If they play harder than you, then it counts.”
It’s Guthro’s approach to the gridiron that has drawn him notice and his captaincy.
“It’s got to be a different mindset,” said Guthro, who will also be co-captaining the basketball and lacrosse teams along with Drew Bourdeau. “Once you hit the field, you flip a switch and you become almost a different person. You can’t stop. You’re an in-control maniac.”
Clippers head coach Ed Gaudiano said that Guthro has been making an impact on his program ever since he was in freshman football.
“The kid’s got a great motor,” said Gaudiano. “He’s got great speed in the game. He plays the game fast and with really good intensity, and who doesn’t love that?”
Guthro says that he attributes his level of intensity to what he’s learned from his coaches at NHS.
“My coaches have pushed me harder then I think most coaches would,” said Guthro. “Newburyport is good with that kind of thing. They have turned me into the athlete that I am. My coaches from youth football through six grade and up until now.”
But Guthro and his Clippers have just lost two of those coaches to other positions. Defensive coordinator Bob Clark will become Newburyport’s new athletic director and offensive coordinator Ryan McCarthy is moving on to a coaching position at Triton.
“I guess that makes me a little bit nervous,” said Guthro. “I almost feel like the future of football is kind of resting on us seniors this year, on how we play and how we respond to the fact that we lost a couple of coaches this year.”
But Guthro knows a big part of athletics is rolling with the punches.
“I think that I try to lead by example,” said Guthro. “Because I followed the examples of my former (captains). I grew up and I watched these, to me huge kids, playing and I wanted to be like them. They were larger-than-life characters. But you don’t see it like that when you’re in that position yourself. I saw Dean Cataldo and Andrew Sokol as these larger-than-life characters who couldn’t be stopped and now I’m in the same position they were in four years ago.”
Having the eyes of Newburyport‘s little kids on you could be intimidating proposition, but Guthro says he and his teammates are looking forward to the fall.
“Oh, we’re ready to go,” Guthro said. “I think this year; it’s going to be a show. Because we have more heart than ever before. The team this year is bringing so much energy, so much belief to the field. So many of us believe that is going to be a good season and that is so important.”
“He’s a big kid with a big personality,” said Gaudiano. “He’s very personable and makes friends with everyone. He’s the kind of kid you love to have involved with your program.”
As for a year from now, Guthro, who has an interest in studying finance or engineering, is keeping things in perspective.
“You’re called a student athlete for a reason,” said the current honor roll student. “Academics are a huge part of it. Without academics, you really couldn’t get anywhere. I’ve had a lot of support from my family and my friends and my coaches. They help me out and just try to keep me sane through all of this.”