Two former Suburban One League National Conference rivals and traditional football powers — North Penn and Neshaminy — are set to square off in Friday night's season opener. The North Penn Knights will visit the Redskins at 7 p.m. at Harry E. Franks Stadium, in what should be a physical clash.
North Penn, which holds a 21-13 advantage in the series, has won seven of the last eight games. The squads last played three years ago in a PIAA District 1 Class 4A semifinal, with the Knights winning, 28-17.
North Penn's offensive spark plugs are running back Shamar Edwards, receiver Jonathan Haynes, and new quarterback Solomon Robinson.
Robinson, a 6-foot-2, 190-pound senior "could be a difference maker," Knights coach Dick Beck said.
North Penn's defense is headed by linemen Noah Fox (6-foot, 230 pounds) and R.J. McNamara (6-3, 210), linebackers Nick Intrieri and Nate Brown, and backs Edwards and Haynes.
Neshaminy brings back quarterback Brody McAndrew, who threw for 1,874 yards and 17 touchdowns last season. His top targets are tight end and slot receiver Oleh Manzyk and wideouts Cory Joyce, Zach Canimore, and Ryan O'Connnor.
Manzyk doubles as an inside linebacker; he registered a team-best 78 tackles, with 53 solos, last season. He has scholarship offers from New Hampshire and St. Francis (Pa.).
Manzyk is supported on defense by outside linebacker Emmanuel Ampofo, end Luke Hitchen, and backs Joyce, Marcus Griffin, and Logan Williamson.
North Penn (9-3 record last season) at Neshaminy (10-2), 7 p.m. The Redskins struggle out of the gate because of their inexperience up front. Pick: North Penn, 23-10.
Downingtown West (5-5) at Perkiomen Valley (10-2), 7 p.m. The Vikings' secondary gets tested by up-and-coming West quarterback Will Howard. Pick: Downingtown West, 31-26.
Spring-Ford (6-5) at Central Bucks South (7-4), 7 p.m. C.B. South has a pair of standout linebackers in Matt Norris (130 tackles last year) and Matt Tobey (89). Pick: C.B. South, 27-14.
Unionville (13-2) at Garnet Valley (12-2), 7 p.m. Garnet Valley's stout defense is anchored by ends Cade Brennan and Adam Aldrati. Pick: Garnet Valley, 20-7.
Academy Park (7-4) at Pennsbury (10-3), 7 p.m. Rebuilding Pennsbury has a solid one-two rushing punch in JayVon McNeill and Brad Mickles. Pick: Pennsbury, 23-21.