FAIRLESS HILLS — North Penn's opening drive Friday night was a powerfully written statement to Pennsbury.
The Knights served notice they too brought a power running game to Falcon Field, and it would be North Penn's offense and not Pennsbury's that would dominate this District One Class AAAA Quarterfinal game.
After the third-seeded Falcons ran their way to an opening score, North Penn drove it 80 yards to even things up. The 10-play march established everything the 11th-seeded Knights wanted to do.
Luke Berry crashed through gaps three times for 21 yards.
Slippery Nyfease West charged into and around tacklers a half dozen times for 49 yards.
And quarterback Austin "7-for-7' Shearer was immediately masterful on the play action, lofting a perfect pass in stride to a wide open Nick Wright for a 10-yard score.
Two minutes and 30 seconds remained in the opening quarter. Yet there was already a feeling drifting around cold Falcon Field that NP's offense had everything it needed to drive to the district semifinals and back to comfy Crawford Stadium for a matchup with Perkiomen Valley next weekend.
"Smashmouth football, run it down their throats, and throw in a little play action - that's North Penn football,' Shearer said calmly and triumphantly afterwards. "Pennsbury's a great team and they came out with their butts on fire. Our first drive was big. We weren't far from our own end zone and we drove it the length of the field. That kind of set the tone for us tonight.'
Shearer would go on to complete his first seven throws, almost all for substantial gains.
His second toss was a 22-yard score to Connor Gill, putting the Knights in front for good at 13-7.
His third throw was a 31-yard gain to Colby Beck.
And Shearer's sixth throw - a 28-yard play to Wright - set up his third TD pass of the night, a 15-yarder back to Wright that extended the Knights lead to 19-7.
West's strong, elusive running, showcased on North Penn's key opening drive, reached it climax when he battled through defenders, tightroped the sideline and extended the ball out and around the pylon for an 18-yard score that put NP comfortably ahead, 26-7. Shearer's ensuing two-point conversion run gave the Knights a three-touchdown lead heading into the fourth quarter.
Whatever plans the Falcons (10-2) had in order to stop North Penn got driven deep into the Falcon Field grass the first time the Knights offense got into formation.
"Feels good - worked real hard this week,' said center Ryan Nowicki, who helped pry open some of those game-winning holes Friday night. "We had a real good cheering section here too.'
They'll have a much bigger one next week.
Follow Kev Hunter on Twitter @khunter10.