North Penn escaped host Neshaminy, 34-33, in double overtime in Friday night’s season opener for both squads at Harry E. Franks Stadium.
Here’s how the Knights won the thriller in Langhorne:
1. North Penn showed resilience by overcoming first-half injuries to a pair of starters: linebacker and tight end Nick Intrieri and speedy two-way back Shamar Edwards.
Intrieri was hurt on the opening kickoff. Knights coach Dick Beck said Monday that he expects both Intrieri and Edwards to be back for Friday night’s nonleague contest against visiting La Salle.
Before going down, Edwards carried nine times for 98 yards. His 43-yard touchdown burst early in the second quarter forged a 7-7 tie.
2. Julian White, normally a fullback, shined in the second half as North Penn’s go-to ballcarrier. The 6-foot, 215-pound senior, who doubles as a defensive end, rushed 10 times for 49 yards and three TDs after the break.
White scored from the 11 to put the visitors in front, 20-19, midway through the fourth stanza. His 5-yard burst made it 27-19 with a little more than two minutes left in regulation.
On the first possession of the second OT, White’s back-to-back 5-yard runs and Ayoub Cherradi’s extra point gave North Penn a 34-27 advantage.
3. North Penn’s defense responded to the challenge after Neshaminy immediately answered with a TD and Redskins coach Steve Wilmot opted to go for two points and the win.
To no one’s surprise, Neshaminy put the ball in the hands of Oleh Manzyk, who was sensational on both sides of the ball, on the decisive play.
“We knew they were going to give it to Manzyk,” Beck said. “Since they had two tight ends out there, we didn’t know which side they would run toward.”
Manzyk, on a right-side run, was stopped short of pay dirt by White and outside linebacker D.J. Fisher.
4. North Penn received a solid showing from an inexperienced offensive line.
Down by 19-14 late in the third quarter, the Knights put together back-to-back scoring drives. The first was a 13-play, 80-yard march. That was followed, after defensive back Andy Cole’s second interception of the night, with a 7-play, 34-yard series.
The offensive line was made up of center Noah Boast, guards Eddie Harkins and Noah Fox, tackles Jake Walton and Donald Stites, and ends R.J. McNamara and Corey Keim.
McNamara led the way for White on his left-side TD run in the second OT.
5. Solomon Robinson, a dual-threat QB, performed well in his first start for North Penn.
Robinson, a 6-foot-2, 190-pound senior who last year played for South Jersey’s Schalick High, completed 7 of 11 passes for 97 yards. He hooked up with wideout Jonathan Haynes for a 44-yard, second-quarter TD.
Robinson broke free for a 31-yard gain early in the second half.