NORTH PENN 31, PENNSBURY 21
The North Penn players, with coach Dick Beck in the middle of it all, enjoyed a body-bump celebration following their latest victory.
"That was an old-fashioned brawl," Beck said after his No. 11-seeded Knights ousted No. 3 Pennsbury, 31-21, Friday night in a PIAA District 1 Class AAAA quarterfinal playoff in Fairless Hills. "I couldn't be prouder of the kids."
North Penn used a balanced offensive attack and a bend-but-don't-break defense to post its ninth consecutive victory and stop the Falcons' winning streak at 10.
"It's a little reminiscent of the 2011 season," senior quarterback Austin Shearer said. "Just like that team, we're finding a way to getit done. We're a tough matchup for anyone."
After being crushed by a trio of Southeastern Pennsylvania powers, the Knights responded with seven straight Suburban One League Continental Conference victories and, now, a pair of playoff wins.
Keeping alive its bid for a second district crown in three seasons, North Penn (9-3) will host No. 15 Perkiomen Valley (10-2) in a semifinal Friday night at Crawford Stadium. The Vikings hammered No. 7 Central Bucks West, 60-20, in another quarterfinal.
Against Pennsbury, the Knights, repeatedly winning the battle along the line of scrimmage, totaled 226 rushing yards on 42 attempts.
Shearer was likewise efficient, completing 7 of 8 passes for 117 yards and three touchdowns. The senior, burning the Falcons on play-action calls, connected on his first seven tries.
"With the offensive line firing off the ball like that, we're a hard offense to stop," Shearer said. "The defense has to creep up to stop the run, and we throw the ball over their heads."
Sophomore tailback Nyfease West carried 18 times for 151 yards, including an 18-yard dart that put the visitors comfortably in front, 28-7, midway through the third quarter. "He's a little skinny kid, but he's tough," Beck said.
After the Falcons (10-2) grabbed an early lead, Shearer hooked up with tight ends Nick Wright (10 yards) and Colin Gill (22) to give North Penn a 13-7 advantage at the break.
Fullback Luke Berry (12 carries for 45 yards) was also a force behind a line that was made up of center Ryan Nowicki, guards Jerred Siddal and Nick Argento, tackles Frank Tranzilli and Andrew Thomas, and ends Wright, Gill, and Nick Muth.
Pennsbury, with junior Charles Snorweah (14 carerries for 112 yards) leading the way, managed 319 rushing yards on 55 attempts.
The headliners on defense for North Penn were lineman Gill and Jesse Cook, linebackers Berry and Wright, cornerback Kris Akins and safety Lewis Dickinson.
In the late going, Gill's 9-yard sack of Breon Clark and an incomplete pass by backup Cody Tabeek sealed the victory.
North Penn 7 6 18 0-31
Pennsbury 7 0 7 7-21
P: Ronquay Smith 4 run (Josh Leon kick)
NP: Nick Wright 10 pass from Austin Shearer (Matt Ammendola kick)
NP: Connor Gill 22 pass from Shearer (kick failed)
NP: Wright 15 pass from Shearer (Ammendola kick)
NP: Nyfease West 18 run (Shearer run)
P: Victor Delgado 3 run (Leon kick)
NP: FG Ammendola 32
P: Breon Clark 1 run (Leon kick)