North Penn and Perkiomen Valley will face each other on the football field for the first time in 28 years tonight.
With two opponents so unfamiliar with each other, there remains quite a lot of mystery to the matchup.
But to get an idea of how the Knights and Vikings will stack up in this District 1-AAAA semifinal, we take a look at each squad position by position. '¢ Quarterbacks: North Penn's Austin Shearer and Perk Valley's Rasaan Stewart each come into this game on quite a hot streak.
Shearer was nearly perfect last week, constantly burning the Falcons on play action and completing his first seven passes, including three for touchdowns.
The senior is playing with a lot of confidence.
Shearer has a strong arm and is great in the pocket. He can get the ball deep to Connor Gill or throw it short to Luke Berry and Nick Wright, both dangerous on screens.
Stewart has been a threat in both the running game and passing game. In fact, he's a 1,000-yard rusher and just about a 2,000-yard passer this season for the 15th-seeded Vikings.
Perk Valley's double threat runs the spread offense masterfully, having thrown for 1,933 yards and hitting big-play targets like Clay Domine and Dakota Clanagan.
The Viking QB has rushed for 14 scores, thrown for 26. He'll get his biggest test of the year against NP's defense Friday night. '¢ Running backs: The Knights have a bunch of them to go.
Nyfease West is both explosive and tough to bring down. He was at his best last week in the win over the Falcons.
Luke Berry is a bowling ball around the goal line, crashing through holes for valuable chunks of yardage.
Throw in Nick Wright and Kris Akins and the Knights have a balanced, versatile backfield that can hurt opposing defenses in many different ways.
Stewart is possibly the Vikings' most dangerous runner but they also have Mark Bonomo, a 5-foot-7, 170-pound fireplug who scored twice against Central Bucks West last week and is pretty adept at picking up the blitz in Perk Valley's high-octane passing attack. '¢ Receivers: Gill has a knack for getting open and has reliable hands downfield for the 11th-seeded Knights.
Last week his only grab was a 21-yard touchdown, and it helped establish the play-action threat for North Penn.
Wright has been a great receiving back for Shearer and is complemented in that capacity by Akins.
The best hands for Perk Valley belong to their speedsters outside. Domine put the finishing touches on last week's 60-point output when he raced away to a 67-yard score and it was Clanagan who burned the Bucks early, reaching the end zone on pass plays of 64, 47 and 32 yards. '¢ Line play: The Knights' o-line is loaded with juniors, and it's a group that's matured pretty nicely over the course of the past 12 games, especially during the nine-game winning streak.
Center Ryan Nowicki (5-11, 240) anchored the group last week as the Knights dominated the line of scrimmage against Pennsbury. They will try to do the same this week against Perk Valley's 3-5-3 alignment.
What will be key for the Vikings is how well its offensive line, including junior Andrew Narducci (6-0, 206), can hold up against the fast, aggressive defensive front of NP. They'll have to give Stewart enough time to remain upright and be able to hit those deep targets downfield.'¢ Linebackers/secondary: The Knights' Lewis Dickinson and Gill have been swarming to the football. This week the linebacker duo is anticipating a busy night making sure they keep Stewart contained.
The linebacking corps shined in the win over the Falcons, especially when Nick Muth came up with an interception that set up the clinching score.
Akins provides plenty of experience in the defensive backfield for the Knights (9-3), who will try to cover everything in sight and not give Stewart any easy targets downfield.
The Vikings' strength, meanwhile, is at corner, where Mike Holland and Liam Grande can cover tight and also play the run extremely well.
'¢ Special teams: Oh yeah, Stewart is also dangerous here too.
The 6-1, 182-pound speedster returned a kickoff 85 yards for a score to finish off the first half last week.
The Knights have another outstanding kicker this year in Matt Ammendola. Along with booting a school-record 56-yard field goal in the regular-season finale against Souderton, the junior has been tremendously consistent, making all but one extra point this year and connecting on both field-goal attempts in the playoffs.
Follow Kev Hunter on Twitter @khunter10.