FAIRLESS HILLS — Following 10 weeks of crushing the opposition and capturing the Suburban One National League championship, the Pennsbury High School football team finally looked like the very young squad it really is last night.
Especially on defense where Pennsbury's small and physically overmatched defense simply had no answers for a North Penn team (9-3) that you could say beat the Falcons at their own game.
As a result, a Pennsbury team (10-2) that started 14 underclassmen met the end of the line when it fell to North Penn, 31-21, at Falcon Field in the quarterfinal round of the PIAA District 1 Class AAAA playoffs
With the victory, long-time District 1 kingpin North Penn advanced to play Perkiomen Valley, a 60-20 winner over Central Bucks West.
The game started well for Pennsbury as it took the opening possession 57 yards and scored on a 10-play drive when Ronguay Smith burst into the end zone on a 7-yard run. When North Penn then muffed the ensuing kickoff, for a brief moment things were looking even better for the Falcons.
Instead, North Penn was able to cover the ball and although nobody knew it at the time, the tone of the game was about to be set for the entire evening.
North Penn countered Pennsbury's opening drive with an 80-yard march of its own in which it basically rammed the ball down Pennsbury's throat with a power running game led by Nyfease West. With its running game working so well, North Penn didn't need to throw the ball much, but when it did it was extremely effective.
The result was the Knights capped their opening drive with a 10-yard pass from Austin Shearer to a wide-open Nick Wright. North Penn then took the lead in the second quarter on another pass, this time a 22-yard strike from Shearer to tight end Connor Gill.
Pennsbury only had three possessions in the entire fire half and nearly took the lead in the second quarter when it drove from its own 25 to the North Penn 3 yard line. On second down, however, Pennsbury tried to throw a pass and this backfired big time when junior quarterback Breon Clark was sacked for an 8-yard loss.
Junior Charles Snorweah, who led Pennsbury with 111 yards on 14 carries, then ran for nine yards to set up a fourth-and-goal play at the 3 yard line. Once again North Penn had the answer as it held Clark to a 1-yard gain on a keeper to get the ball back on downs.
Had Pennsbury scored here, it might have very well have taken a 14-13 lead into the half. The fact it did not proved pivotal because North Penn dominated the third quarter with 18 points.
It started with a 66-yard drive to start the third quarter in which the Knights continued to hammer away with its running game. The lead grew to 20-7 when Shearer connected with Wright on a 15-yard pass. Following an interception deep in Pennsbury territory, North Penn then quickly scored again on a 18-yard bolt by West.
There was no longer and doubt which team would win the game. Pennsbury kept fighting and did get TDs on a 3-yard run by Victor Delgado and a 1-yard sneak by Clark, but there was no way it was going to recover from a 28-7 deficit.
Although it really needed to score on its second quarter drive, Pennsbury's offense was not really the problem. Pennsbury churned out 342 yards on the ground with Smith running for 96 and Raheem Thompson for 80 in addition to Snorweah's 111.
But it was a much different story on the other side of the ball. Pennsbury will return nearly its entire defense next year and all it can do for now is get in the weight room and bulk up.***NOTES: In other District I playoff action, Neshaminy outpaced Spring-Ford 56-27. Abington stunned top seed Garnet Valley 26-21. And Perkiomen Valley absolutely slaughtered CB West 60-20.RESULTS
North Penn 31, Pennsbury 21
(Nov. 15 at Pennsbury)
North Penn (9-3) 7 6 18 0 — 31
Pennsbury (10-2) 7 0 7 7 — 21
P-Smith 4 run (Leon kick)
NP-Wright 10 pass from Shearer (Ammendola kick)
NP-Gill 22 pass from Shearer (kick failed)
NP-Wright 15 pass from Shearer (Ammendola kick)
NP-West 18 run (Shearer run)
P-Delgado 3 run (Leon kick)
NP-Ammendola 32 field goal
P-Clark 1 run (Leon kick)
PIAA Playoff Scores
Abington 26, Garnet Valley 21
Neshaminy 56, Spring-Ford 27
Perkiomen Valley 60, Central Buck West 20
North Penn 31, Pennsbury 21
Academy Park 27, Pottsgrove 26
Glen Mills 34, West Chester Henderson 13
Imhotep 48, West Catholic 8