TOWAMENCIN — After a cold, misty night on the turf, the Harriton boys lacrosse team left the North Penn turf feeling a little bit warmer.
Its fourth-quarter play was the reason.
Harriton controlled the ball, took accurate shots, played with a tremendous amount of hustle, and ultimately scored the only two goals of the period to pull away to a 6-3 win over the Knights in a non-league contest Friday evening.
North Penn, which had dropped two one-goal contests prior to Friday's game, went into the fourth quarter aiming to win a close one this time around. But it was not to be, as the Knights struggled in the final 12 minutes, falling to 1-4 on the season.
"There were two hungry teams tonight, and Harriton wanted it much more than we did," North Penn coach Rick Smith said. "We have to work on possessing the ball on offense, and we just can't play defense for over 75 percent of the game. That's what caught up to us."
Harriton was able to pry open a game that had been deadlocked for most of the night. Tied 1-1, 2-2 and 3-3, the contest was a back-and-forth struggle in which every goal was crucial.
Patrick Stewart's tally late in the third pushed Harriton (3-4) ahead for good, and despite some pressure by the Knights early in the fourth, including a potential tying shot that banged off the post, Harriton secured the victory with goals in the final five minutes by Brian Meyers and Jack Veasey.
"It was a combination of playing aggressive, going for the win — because you can't take a play off against these guys — and then being smart enough with the ball where we could keep the high pace of the game without losing our cool," Rams coach Joe Proud said. "We didn't want to give (North Penn) any chances because they're good. They're scrappy."
Goals by Jake Diamond, Zach McKelvie, and Matt Brady kept the Knights even with Harriton through almost three quarters of play. But late in the third, Harriton went to a gear that the Knights are still trying to find.
"They had those final, knockout punches, and we fell,' Smith said. "We couldn't get back up again. And when you're playing a team that wants to win as bad as Harriton did, I give them credit. They just kept fighting and plugging and got the best of us.'
North Penn looks forward to its next contest, another home battle on Monday afternoon against Allentown Central Catholic.
"The guys are working hard, but we need to be up for every single game," Smith said. "Every single game must be treated like it's a championship game, like it's their last game. And that's the mentality that we need to focus on."
Harriton 6, North Penn 3
Harriton (3-4) 2 0 2 2 — 6
North Penn (1-4) 1 1 1 0 — 3
Harriton Goals: Patrick Bernicker, Jack Veasey 2, Hakan Atillasoy, Patrick Stewart, Brian Meyers
North Penn Goals: Jake Diamond, Zach McKelvie, Matt Brady
Follow Kev Hunter on Twitter @khunter10.