North Penn's treacherous nonleague schedule continues Friday night when it hosts Archbishop Wood.
The Knights opened the season with a 34-7 loss at the hands of No. 2-ranked La Salle, have a 7:30 p.m. meeting at Crawford Stadium against the No. 4 Vikings, and continue next Saturday versus No. 5 St. Joseph's Prep.
Key for Dick Beck's squad against Wood is finding a decent rhythm on offense. Against La Salle, it was held to 64 yards rushing, 107 passing, and eight first downs.
North Penn's ground-oriented attack is spurred by running backs Luke Berry, Nick Wright, and Kris Akins. The only score against the Explorers was Berry's 2-yard, fourth-quarter touchdown run.
Wood, the five-time defending Catholic League Class AAA champion, started with a 38-7 romp over outmanned Bensalem.
The Vikings' offensive headliners are QB Tom Garlick, running backs Josh Messina and Jarrett McClenton, and receivers Kendall Singleton and Justin Rubin.
In a driving rain last year at William Tennent, North Penn overcame an early deficit and topped Wood, 24-10. With the Vikings ahead by 10-0 in the second quarter and driving for another score, a fumble recovery and 96-yard TD return switched the momentum.
This year, win or lose, the Knights will benefit from their brutal early slate. With District 1's new playoff-points system, they will receive 10 "bonus" points for each victory posted during the season by a team to which it lost.
So, for example, if La Salle should go 9-1 in the regular season, North Penn, which missed out on a Class AAAA playoff berth last year with a 6-4 record, would be credited with 90 points.
We anticipate a better showing in Week 2 from the No. 14 Knights, but expect Wood, with a more potent rushing game, to win a taut contest.
Pick: Wood, 24-21.
Last week and overall: 8-3 (.727).
Other Friday games:
No. 15 Central Bucks South (1-0) at No. 1 Coatesville (1-0), 7 p.m. Two explosive ballcarriers, the Titans' Josh Adams and the Red Raiders' Daquan Worley, showcase their skills. Pick: Coatesville, 40-21.
No. 20 West Catholic (1-0) vs. George Washington (0-1), at Northeast, 6:30 p.m. West is looking to reverse the tables after bowing to Washington, 20-19, in overtime last year. Pick: West, 34-12.
No. 13 Downingtown West (1-0) at No. 3 Neshaminy (1-0), 7 p.m. D'Andre Pollard and Trokon Buesmaill give the Redskins a strong one-two rushing punch. Pick: Neshaminy, 26-13
No. 18 Cardinal O'Hara (0-1) at Academy Park (1-0), 7 p.m. The Lions' bid to rebound from a loss to Archbishop Ryan centers on slowing down Jerry Lanier. Pick: O'Hara, 32-14.
No. 24 Episcopal Academy (1-0) at Interboro (0-1). The Bucs, 41-0 losers to the Churchmen last year, keep things close this time. Pick: Episcopal, 21-16.
Springside Chestnut Hill (1-0) at Central (1-0), 11 a.m. In senior speedster Walter Pegues, Central has a legitimate home-run threat. Pick: Springside Chestnut Hill, 28-23.
No. 7 Downingtown East (1-0) vs. No. 23 Roman Catholic (0-1), at Lincoln, 1 p.m. Look for Dimetri Kelly and the Cahillites to spoil the Cougars' return trip to Northeast Philly. Pick: Roman, 27-21.
No. 12 Pennsbury (0-1) at No. 21 Frankford (0-1), 1 p.m. To beat the Falcons, the Pioneers need to cut down on the turnovers and penalties. Pick: Pennsbury, 30-22.
No. 5 St. Joe's Prep (1-0) at Don Bosco Prep (0-0). In 2006, the Hawks lost to the Ironmen, 31-28, in North Jersey. Pick: Don Bosco, 38-31.