North Penn reciever Connor Gill ,13, pulls in a tochdown pass past Pennsbury defenders during first half action of their playoff contest at Pennsbury High
North Penn reciever Connor Gill ,13, pulls in a tochdown pass past Pennsbury defenders during first half action of their playoff contest at Pennsbury High School on Friday November 15,2013. Photo by Mark C Psoras/The Reporter (Mark C Psoras)

This North Penn postseason run is starting to feel like the last one.

After opening the playoffs with road wins over Coatesville and Pennsbury, the 11th-seeded Knights (9-3) get to go back home to Crawford Stadium for a District 1-AAAA Semifinal showdown with No. 15 Perkiomen Valley.

"It's exciting. It's a little reminiscent of 2011,' North Penn quarterback Austin Shearer said. "I was only a sophomore then but I remember us getting to go back to Crawford and how great that was and then we went onto the state final. It should be fun.'

Back in 2011, the Knights, who recovered from a 1-2 start that season, were on the road for an opening-round win over West Chester Rustin and then got to play at Crawford the next two rounds, topping both Neshaminy and Pennsbury before defeating Council Rock South at a neutral site in the district final.

North Penn defender ,Nick Muth ,55,celebrates with teammates after his interception against Pennsbury during second half action of their playoff contest at
North Penn defender ,Nick Muth ,55,celebrates with teammates after his interception against Pennsbury during second half action of their playoff contest at Pennsbury High School on Friday November 15,2013. Photo by Mark C Psoras/The Reporter (Mark C Psoras)

These Knights have been similar, coming back from an 0-3 hole to finish 7-3 in the regular season and they now take a nine-game winning streak into the semis.

More deja vu could set in next week, as it could be another district final battle between North Penn and Neshaminy. But Perk Valley comes first.

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A rare matchup

It's been 12 years since North Penn faced anybody from the Pioneer Athletic Conference. The 2001 Thanksgiving Day game against Lansdale Catholic was the last time the Knights squared off against a PAC-10 foe.

A lot of time has passed and a lot of things have changed.

Mike Pettine, now the defensive coordinator of the Buffalo Bills, was head coach of the Knights.

Current head coach Dick Beck was one of Pettine's assistants.

Zach Raffle and Jim Laky, now assistant coaches for NP, were sophomores on the ' 01 team.

North Penn's current seniors, including Shearer, were in kindergarten.

And LC is no longer in the PAC 10, having moved to the Philadelphia Catholic League in 2008.

The Knights were able to hold on and win 20-14 in that bitter cold 2001 Turkey Day game against LC and would like a similar result this week against PV.

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Defense turns it up

After surrendering a touchdown on Pennsbury's opening drive, the North Penn defense spent the next two quarters shutting down the Falcons (10-2).

Pennsbury's second possession was a three-and-out and then the Knights made a big goal-line stand to start the second quarter.

Ahead 13-7, North Penn preserved the lead by making a stop inside its own five. A 12-play drive by the Falcons came to 3rd-and-goal at the 11, and running back Charles Snorweah was able to gain nine yards to push the ball down to the two.

On 4th and goal, quarterback Breon Clark, who had rushed for 22 yards on his first three carries, tried to run around the left end for a score.

But North Penn defenders maintained their assignments and the pursuit was outstanding, tackling Clark for no gain. The Knights took their 13-7 lead into halftime and extended it to 20-7 shortly after the break.

And then the defense again made a big play for the Knights.

On 3rd-and-8 at the Pennsbury 30, Clark was rushed out of the pocket while trying to find an open receiver, and with good coverage downfield, the QB was hit by Nick Wright as he threw and the ball fluttered into the hands of linebacker Nick Muth.

The takeaway set up a touchdown and ultimately the winning points of the game.

North Penn's defense aims for another impressive effort against Perk Valley's air attack this week.

Follow Kev Hunter on Twitter @khunter10

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