FAIRLESS HILLS — All it took was a little acting from North Penn sophomore Nyfease West to sell the fake and catch Pennsbury creeping toward the line scrimmage. As the Falcons guessed run on Friday night, quarterback Austin Shearer found target after target wide open down field.
The senior signal caller connected on his first seven passes and three of them went for scores. It allowed the 11th seeded Knights to knock off the third-seeded Falcons 31-21 in the second round of the District 1-AAAA playoffs.
“When we can get Austin keeping them honest like that it is the perfect storm,” Knights coach Dick Beck said. “All of the sudden they creep up, play loose, and we can starting running with West and (Luke) Berry). It worked tonight.”
Shearer turned to his right after bringing in the snap from his center and suggested he was going to let his running backs bask in the brisk air of Falcons Field. But instead he kept himself and threw a touch pass to Nick Wright for the first score of the night. It was the answer needed after Ronguay Smith and the Falcons scored on the opening drive of the night.
“A lot of it is the fakes and how the offensive line plays,” Shearer said. “Setting up the run helps with the play action because they expect the run and teams bite.”
Wright was also a force on defense with a sack and one batted pass that led to an interception by senior linebacker Nick Muth. Muth laid out to snag the Falcons' quarterback Breon Clark wobbler before it hit the ground. Muth's acrobatics led to the Knights first two score lead of the night in the third quarter.
“Nick Wright did a great job of keeping contain,” Beck said. “Nick has been one of our best players, he is one of our captains and there is not enough I can say about him.”
Wright would find the end zone again later on Shearer's third touchdown pass of the night. In the biggest game of his career to he completed 7-of-8 passes for 111 yards. The next biggest game of the career will come next week against 14th seeded Perkiomen Valley, who knocked off seventh-seeded Central Bucks West. The 60-20 win by the Vikings gives the Knights one more home game.
“That was just North Penn football,” Shearer said. “Smash-mouth, run it down your throats, with a little play-action. It will be our game plan every week.”
But it was not always Shearer faking the feed to West and the Knight running backs. West carried the load and helped the clock run out the Falcons season with 173 yards on 22 carries with one score.
“Pennsbury has a very dangerous offense,” Shearer said. “We needed to run the ball like we did.”
The Falcons combo of Smith and Charles Snorweah kept the Falcons fighting and while both backs accumulated more than 100 yards on the ground, the Knights kept the home team one dimensional and in a losing battle with time in the fourth quarter. The Knights finished with 367 yards of offense in the season-extending win.
“The kids have been fantastic,” Beck said. “Our enthusiasm in practice and their attention to detail — these kids have grown up.”
District 1-AAAA Quarterfinals
North Penn 31, Pennsbury 21
North Penn 7 6 18 0 — 31
Pennsbury 7 0 7 7 — 21
PB — Ronguay Smith four yard run (Josh Leon kick)
NP — Nick Wright 10 yard pass from Austin Shearer (Matt Amendola kick)
NP — Connor Gill 21 yard pass from Shearer (kick failed)
NP — Wright 15 yard pass from Shearer (Amendola kick)
NP — Nyfease West 18 yard run (Shearer conversion)
PB — Charles Snorweah (Leon kick)
NP — Matt Amendola 32 yard field goal
PB — Breon Clark one yard run (Leon kick)
North Penn Pennsbury
First downs 20 25
Rushing yards 256 312
Passing yards 111 0
Total yards 367 321
Passing (c-a-i) (7-8-0) (0-5-1)
Fumble-lost 0-0 1-0
Punts-avg 2-28 1-32
Penalties 6-45 2-20
North Penn — West 22-173, TD; Berry 12-50; Shearer 4-17; Hudimac 2-7; Dickinson 2-4; Wright 1-5
Pennsbury — Snorweah 17-128, TD; Smith 18-100, TD; Thompson 11-65; Clark 7-14, TD
North Penn — Shearer 7-8-0 — 111, 3 TDs;
Pennsbury — Clark 0-5-1 — 0
North Penn — Wright 3-43, 2 TDs; Beck 1-30; Gill 1-21, TD; Hudimac 1-16; Berry 1-1
Pennsbury - none
North Penn - Muth
Pennsbury - none
North Penn - Wright, Gill
Pennsbury - none
Follow Andrew Marcus on Twitter @amarcus515.