TOWAMENCIN — Just a few plays shy of their blowout victory over Perkiomen Valley in the District 1 semifinal Friday night, the North Penn Knights were ready to celebrate. Yet, Kris Akins stood on the sideline, intently focused on the game at hand and told his teammates on the sideline that were already posing for photographs they "haven't won anything yet.'
Akins, who last spring helped his Knights baseball squad win the PIAA state championship, knows what it takes to win. For he, Anthony Cameron and John Posavec, the memories of their baseball state championship remain clear as day.
Now with the Knights football squad, the experience they've learned in pressure situations will pay back in dividends.
"That was one of the most exciting moments in my life so far,' said Cameron after the victory Friday in front of an over-capacity crowd at North Penn High School. "It was a great moment and if we do it again here it will be just as exciting.'
"[In football] you take it week by week, in baseball there was a game every two days so you take it day by day,' Posavec said.
Now finding themselves in a similar situation, still playing late in the season while students from other schools rest at home, certain parallels between the two squads are strikingly similar. The Knights football team started with three consecutive losses before winning ten straight — next week they play for the District 1 championship. Similarly, the Knights baseball team started 1-3 and weren't above .500 until seven games into the season.
"It was the same thing, we weren't doing too well in the beginning and then we started rolling,' Akins said.
So, now on the heels of the District 1 Championship — North Penn's eighth in 12 years — how does the experience of one sport carry to the other?
"You have to be humble,' Akins said. "Take it one game at a time and not look to the future.'
Coach Dick Beck finds that their experience in their championship run doesn't mean as much as their conduct on the field as a teammate. In other words, pulling weight in their particular position is of more importance to the team than having won a state title, nevertheless acting as leader to the team has been invaluable to the Knights' success.
"I like them on the team, I'm not sure the baseball championship helps us at all, they're just good kids,' Beck said. "Anthony can do so many things, Johnny plays a lot of special teams and is very enthusiastic and Kris Akins is one of our best players, one of our captains.'
Playing loose and fun has been the catalyst to the Knights' success across the various sports. The players are able to keep the spirits light and have given them the ability to overcome losses and move forward in a positive direction.
"We have the same heart, we do things right on the field and we all play together as a team,' Akins said.
"I'm a jokester too, but sometimes it's time to get serious,' Beck said. "Those guys keep it light and as long as they work hard I'll let them have some fun.'