Justis Henley gives North Penn a boost at many positions

North Penn’s Justis Henley picks up yardage before being stopped by Downingtown East’s Stuart Regitz.

As he usually does following a game, North Penn’s Justis Henley walked toward the bleachers. There, waiting for him, was a group of about 15 people.

Of course, his father, Keith, and mother, Marcetas, were the first to offer congratulations for the visiting Knights’ 45-35 victory over Suburban One League Continental Conference rival Pennridge on Saturday night at Helman Field.

“Yeah, it’s nice to have that many people supporting you and your team,” Henley said. “It’s a loyal bunch.”

Henley is a multipurpose standout for North Penn. In addition to being a wide receiver, defensive back, and kick returner, the 5-foot-11, 170-pound senior is sometimes used at quarterback in a Wildcat formation.

“I like having a lot of weight on my shoulders,” he said. “If it comes down to me being the one to make a big play, I’m all for it.”

Of filling in occasionally at QB, Henley said, “I like it a lot. It’s a lot of fun. I like throwing the ball more than running it.”

After losing their first two games to La Salle (41-28) and Downingtown East (61-44), Henley, who committed to play at Delaware earlier this month, and the Knights have won three straight.

Against Pennridge, Henley made fourth-down catches of 11 and 12 yards in the second and fourth quarters, respectively, to keep drives alive. His end zone interception clinched the key road triumph.

After Steve DePaul’s 11-yard touchdown pass to Khan Jamal gave North Penn a 45-28 advantage with less than three minutes to play, the Rams’ Ryan Garner returned the ensuing kickoff 94 yards for a score.

Kelly McNamara gave the Knights a 10-point cushion when she drilled a 36-yard field goal with 1:20 remaining. “She’s great,” Henley said. “She always comes through for us.”

North Penn (3-2 overall, 2-0 conference) will host unbeaten Central Bucks South (5-0, 2-0) at 7 p.m. Thursday at Crawford Stadium.

“It’s a short week of practice, so we really need to be focused,” Henley said. “If we prepare hard and play up to our potential, I’m confident we can hand them their first loss.”

Henley, a three-year starter who was clocked at 4.53 seconds in the 40-yard dash in a camp at Syracuse over the summer, has three TD catches and the same number of scoring tosses.

The 17-year-old, an erstwhile basketball player, can play either free safety or cornerback on defense. He has four interceptions. In a 29-20 nonleague win at Pennsbury on Sept. 8, he returned a blocked field goal 98 yards for a tally.

Henley, who played youth football for the Lansdale Cannoneers, chose Delaware over Air Force and Army.

“I really like Delaware’s new coach [Danny Rocco] and the rest of his staff,” he said. “They gave me a warm welcome when I visited the school and then they stayed in regular contact.”

Player of the week

Rahiem Bowens made nine catches for 246 yards and four TDs in host Penn Wood’s 30-27 nonleague upset of Haverford School on Saturday at Kerr Field. The 6-foot, 170-pound senior also returned one of his two interceptions for a score.

Through five games, Bowens has 22 receptions for 488 yards and six TDs. Also a defensive back and kick returner, he has 632 all-purpose yards.

Extra points

Penncrest’s Chris Jackson has been selected to join the marching band that performs at halftime of the 2018 U.S. Army All-American Bowl in San Antonio. He was recognized as one of the top 125 senior marching musicians and color guard members in the country. … La Salle played the 1,000th game in program history in Saturday night’s 45-7 win over Archbishop Ryan. … Avon Grove’s Kevin Francis has carried 133 times for 920 yards and 13 TDs. … In Pope John Paul II’s 5-0 start, Matt DeLaurentis has hit on 59 of 110 throws for 762 yards and seven scores. … In four games, Southern’s Zaki Samuels has rushed 76 times for 532 yards and five TDs. Frank “Roscoe” Natale’s squad has passed only 26 times in 201 offensive plays. … Kennett’s Jake Dilcher has completed 42 of 77 passes for 706 yards and five scores. … Strath Haven’s Zach Hussein has carried 81 times for 449 yards and six TDs. … Neshaminy’s Mike Garlick (20 for 387, three TDs) and Corey Joyce (22 for 291, three TDs) have combined to make 42 catches for 678 yards and six scores. … Former Malvern Prep QB Kevin Doyle, now playing for St. John’s College High (D.C.), committed to play at Michigan on Sunday. The 6-4, 210-pound senior is a three-star prospect.