TOWAMENCIN >> Central Bucks South was both resilient and resourceful, but North Penn never lost its grip on a wet, windy 46-20 victory over the rival Titans Friday night.
“The game was fun itself. The weather — you don’t let it get to ya,” said the Knights’ Justin Ostopowicz, who churned out 112 yards and a pair of scores. “It felt great (to get off to a big start). That’s what we expected to do, especially in these conditions, running the ball down there.”
Taking a 33-20 lead into the fourth, North Penn quarterback Reece Udinski connected with tight end Nick Vasger for a 46-yard gain, all the way down to the South one-yard line.
The big play through the air set up a one-yard burst by Dontae Stewart, giving the Knights a commanding 39-20 lead and sending them on their way.
The Knights, getting the capping score on a nine-yard run by Nick Isabella, held off a second-half rally by South to improve to 3-2 on the season, including a 2-0 mark in the Suburban One League National Conference.
“We’re 2-0 in the conference. We wanna keep it going, keep it going strong,” Ostopowicz said.
“It was good, it was a good night. I think it was fun for the kids, and I think the field, for the most part, held up pretty good,” said Knights coach Dick Beck. “The one thing I was probably most happy with is that we didn’t turn the ball over.
“I thought maybe (in the third quarter) we started taking a few too many chances on defense and (South) was creasing us a little bit running the ball. But I think for the most part, defensively we played well.”
To start the third quarter, South took advantage of a long punt return by Tyler Watson to set up a 10-yard touchdown run by quarterback Sam Thompson, who came off the bench in the second half and had success running some zone read. The touchdown, coupled with a two-point run by Nate Norris, tightened the game to 26-14 early in the third quarter.
Just moments later though, Ostopowicz broke free for a 55-yard gain, setting up his own three-yard score, boosting the lead back up to 33-14.
Thompson again had South on the move, and capped a 62-yard drive with an eight-yard touchdown run, trimming the margin to 33-20 late in the third.
But the final quarter would belong to NP, as the Knights finished the game off in the same fashion they began it.
North Penn took the lead less than three minutes in, as Ostopowicz powered into the end zone for a five-yard run and a 7-0 Knights lead. The extra point was knocked through by Kelly Macnamara, the first female player for the Knights.
Key on the opening drive was a 15-yard pass from Udinski to Ricky Johns on 3rd-and-7 at the NP 46. Udinski would have a solid first half despite the wind and rain, completing nine of 22 passes for 108 yards and a touchdown.
“The passing game was good. I was surprised about that with this weather,” said Ostopowicz, who gathered in four first-half receptions for 38 yards. “Everybody just did their jobs – it was awesome.”
The South passing attack, meanwhile, could not get anything going, and on the final play of the first quarter, Stewart intercepted Titans quarterback Ian Vogt and returned it 16 yards for a touchdown, boosting the margin to 13-0.
With the wind gusts making every kick and punt an adventure on this night, the extra-point attempt sailed wide. But the Knights were soon back in the end zone, with Isabella scoring on a six-yard run early in the second quarter, making it a 20-0 North Penn lead.
Vasger caught a short scoring toss from Udinski on 4th-and-goal at the three, providing the Knights a 26-0 lead midway through the second.
South (2-3) took advantage of a muffed punt by the Knights with a 15-yard run — and plunge into the end zone — by Nate Norris, which got the Titans on the board and made it 26-6.
Johns nearly had NP’s second defensive touchdown of the night when he returned an interception down to the 10, but the South defense stiffened and kept it a 20-point difference at the break.
Top Photo: North Penn’s Justin Ostopowicz (30) races past Central Bucks South defenders for a big gain during first-half action of their contest at North Penn High School on Friday, Oct. 2, 2015.
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