With six District One Class AAAA championships and a 29-4 district playoff record over the last 12 seasons residing on North Penn football coach Dick Beck's resume ,there is not much that the Knights should worry about entering the opening round of the postseason.
If anything was going to be worrisome it would be their first-round draw this season. The 11th-seeded Knights hit the road to take on the defending district champs in sixth-seeded Coatesville 7 p.m. Friday night.
"Each week we have been learning a little more and doing a little more,' Beck said. "You are not trying to win a championship in Week One. After 10 regular-season games, our kids have a good feel of the offense, our coaches have a feel for our personal and our identity. We have been here before.'
The Red Raiders (9-1) lost more than a Ches-Mont League National Division championship in their regular-season finale against Downingtown West. They lost its first game of the season and slipped into one of the more difficult first-round assignments against the Knights (7-3). And Coatesville has to do it all without standout running back Daquan Worley. The senior and Penn State commit was lost for the season to a torn ACL two weeks ago.
"Coatesville has all the pressure,' Beck said. "They are the defending champs, everyone thinks they are going to win anyway, so we are going to go out there and do what we do. If we are victorious, that is great.'
In Worley's absence has stepped junior Isaiah Flamer, who has shown off his breakaway abilities. Flamer has run for 365 yards in the last two weeks and combined with the passing prowess of Jordan Young, the Red Raiders still have the ability to put up points in a hurry.
"We cannot get in a one-on-one situation and let the kid score an 80-yard touchdown,' Beck said. "If we are one-on-one and they complete a pass we have to get them to the ground. If they gain 10, they gain 10, but we cannot miss tackles.'
Maybe in September the Knights would have feared a high-scoring showdown, but that does not that bring fear to a team that has won seven straight after starting the season with a three-game losing streak.
"I feel good about where we are at,' Beck said. "We won a league championship, which was huge for us, and we are peaking at the right time.'
Sophomore Nyfease West and senior Luke Berry bring a tough one-two punch to the running game and senior quarterback Austin Shearer is playing his best football. Over the last three weeks Shearer has completed 65 percent of his passes for 456 yards and two touchdowns.
"The kids are having fun and confident right now,' Beck said. "I think we found our identity of what we like to do offensively. Austin has played his best three games of his career the past three games. His confidence is at its peak and when you are running the ball with the consistency we are running with, hitting a drag route over the middle becomes that much more in rhythm.
The "dumb it down' days over for the Knights. Starting Friday, Beck will dig deep into his bag of tricks and pull out all the stops to dethrone the district kings. North Penn was the 11th seed in 2011 when it went on to win the district title and finish second in the state. Why not this year?
"I am not sure if we played a team over the last seven weeks with the caliber of Coatesville,' Beck said. "We have to be ready for them. After 13 weeks of practice the kids have finally bought in to what we have been building for.'
Follow staff writer Andrew Marcus on Twitter @amarcus515.