North Penn versus Perkiomen Valley
North Penn versus Perkiomen Valley

North Penn is the veritable old guard of District 1 Class AAAA football, having won six district titles since 2002 and making three other trips to the district final since 1999.

Perkiomen Valley is new school, having just won the first two Quad-A playoff games in program history over the past two weeks.

Friday night at 7:30 p.m., the traditional power Knights (9-3) and nouveau riche Vikings (10-2) meet in a District 1-AAAA semifinal at North Penn's Crawford Stadium that looks to be a battle of contrasts.

No. 11 seed North Penn has won nine straight since an 0-3 start against the likes of powerhouses La Salle, Archbishop Wood and St. Joseph's Prep, while No. 15 seed Perkiomen Valley is coming off what has to be considered its biggest victory ever — a 60-20 quarterfinal win over Central Bucks West.

The Suburban One League Continental Conference champion Knights opened the district tourney with a convincing 31-0 rout of defending 1-AAAA champ and PIAA runner-up Coatesville, and followed that up with a 31-21 victory over No. 3 seed Pennsbury in the quarters.

"When you think about North Penn, you always think old-school, big, physical football,' Perkiomen Valley coach Scott Reed said. "Trying to get more guys at the point of attack than you have. Trying to run the ball, lull you to sleep and then hit you with play-action. And then all the time they can run a trick play at you. They're a force to be reckoned with, and right now they're letting everybody know that.'


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North Penn, under highly successful 12th-year coach Dick Beck, took its lumps early in the season. Now, however, the Knights are the ones bringing the pain.

Nyfease West, a 5-foot-9, 175-pound sophomore tailback, has rushed for a team-high 1,249 yards, including 173 in the Knights' district quarterfinal win.

"He's been a great surprise,' Beck said of West, who was buried on the squad's depth chart when the season began. "Friday, he probably played one of the best games any North Penn running back has ever played.'

The Knights also got a 7-for-8, 111-yard, three-TD performance from senior quarterback Austin Shearer as they erased a 7-0 deficit with 28 unanswered points.

"He knows where his receivers are and he makes his throws on breaks,' Reed said of Shearer. "You can tell he's well-coached and knows what he's doing.'

Defensively, North Penn — which got sacks from Nick Wright and Conner Gill and an interception from Nick Muth last week — has allowed just 13.9 points per game since Week 4.

"No. 1, we're not turning the ball over,' Beck said. "We've been pretty efficient on offense, as far as moving the ball by running and hitting the big play when we need to. And we've been playing pretty decent defense; we had three or four key stops against Pennsbury.'

Perkiomen Valley simply couldn't be stopped last week, and the Vikings hope their no-huddle spread offense can continue that trend.

Senior quarterback Rasaan Stewart threw for a career-high 268 yards and four touchdowns, thanks largely to the time afforded him by the offensive line of Andrew Narducci, Sean Coyle, Dan Keller, Dan Roh and Seth Jonassen.

Senior fullback Mark Bonomo ran for 133 yards and two TDs and Stewart rushed for 96 yards and two TDs as both players topped the 1,000-yard mark for the season. Wideouts Dakota Clanagan and Clay Domine combined for 251 receiving yards and four scores as PV racked up 532 total yards.

The 6-1, 176-pound Stewart has completed 129 of 221 passes for 1,944 yards with 26 touchdowns against six interceptions, while also running for 1,021 yards and 14 scores.

Bonomo has a team-high 1,022 rushing yards; Domine has 42 receptions for 697 yards and 11 touchdowns, and Clanagan has 38 grabs for 614 yards and 12 TDs.

"My biggest fear is them spreading the field and putting their guys in open space and us not making tackles,' Beck said. "We need to keep them in front of us. Their running back (Bonomo) is very scary; the first guy never seems to bring him down and he's sneaky fast. Obviously the quarterback (Stewart) is very talented and can hurt you in many ways.'

The PV defense — down linemen Tom Jaworski, Tony Pachella and Luke DiElsi; linebackers Clanagan, Pat Delaney, Sean Sedgewick, Danny Light and Anthony Rotunda; corners Kurran Holland and Liam Grande; and safety Stewart — will be tasked with trying to slow down West, Shearer and Co.

"It seems like every week the stage gets bigger,' Reed said. "We've got to create turnovers and make great plays to have a chance of winning. I think there's going to come a point in the game where the momentum is going to swing one way or another; it's just going to be a matter of who takes it and runs with it.'

"It's going to take no mistakes and executing on every little play,' Holland said. "Everything counts.'

Follow Darryl Grumling on Twitter at @MercSmokinD.