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Pennsbury faces first Suburban One National test at Pennridge

With a loss to powerhouse La Salle and five victories over everyone else, everything has gone pretty much as expected with the Pennsbury High School football team.

This includes a swarming defense that for the most part has been dominant and its trademark Ground and Pound running game that has really come on with a rebuilt offensive line.

Now, it’s time to find out if Pennsbury is merely a very good team or a special one like last year’s PIAA District 1 Class champion squad that won 13 games.

It all starts Friday night with a visit to a big and physical Pennridge squad that recently impressed with a win at Neshaminy.

The following week North Penn will be in town. The Knights appear to have another in a long line of quality teams and you can be sure coach “Deputy” Dick Beck is already in the middle of a two-week preparation for Pennsbury. No offense to the Owls, but North Penn can afford to look ahead because this week’s opponent is winless Bensalem.

Pennsbury will then finish up its regular season with a trip to Central Bucks South and a home game against long-time rival Neshaminy, which could be playing for a do-or-die playoff berth that evening.

Barring a stunning collapse in which it loses three of its last four, Pennsbury is headed back to the playoffs. What the Falcons really want, however, is a prestigious fourth straight Suburban One National championship and a very high seed in a loaded-up district field.

Pennsbury (5-1) at Pennridge (4-2), Friday, 7 p.m.

This could be a real challenge for the Falcons. Pennsbury’s fast-but-not-overly-big defense is probably better suited to stop a finesse team than a power one. Pennridge has size and likes to pound the ball. Furthermore, Pennridge presents the biggest test for Pennsbury’s offensive line since the La Salle game. In addition to getting out of Perkasie with a win, Pennsbury hopes to return healthy. This was not the case last year when it got banged up a bit by the Rams and was short handed when it went to North Penn the following week in what proved to be its only loss during the regular season.

Souderton (3-3) at Neshaminy (4-2), Friday, 7 p.m.

Souderton is not a bad team and has a decent running game, but it will be up against a Redskin squad that knows a loss could be fatal. Although Neshaminy did not exactly impress with just 21 points at C.B. South last week, the weather conditions were not ideal. Neshaminy’s big-play capability should carry it through as it builds up momentum for North Penn and Pennsbury in the last two games of the season.

Council Rock South (4-2) at William Tennent (3-3) Friday, 7 p.m.

Surging Rock South is looking more and more like a playoff team after destroying C.B. West last week. After a promising start, Tennent has lost three in a row and been outscored 137-10 during that span. Look for Rock South to run wild as it gets ready for next week’s huge home collision against Quakertown.

Middle Township (1-3) at Bristol (3-3), Friday, 7 p.m.

The New Jersey team is not as strong as the one that beat Bristol, 44-17, last year, but neither are the Warriors. Middle Township also plays a tough schedule with opponents such as Buena. Bristol rebounded with a nice shut-out win over Jenkintown last week and still has playoff aspirations. Bristol remains the underdog, but has a fighting chance.

North Penn (4-2) at Bensalem (0-6), Friday, 7 p.m.

As mentioned above, you can be sure North Penn has already started preparing to stop Pennsbury’s ground game. Look for Beck to pull his starters early.

Conwell Egan (4-2) at Lansdale Catholic (4-2), Friday, 7 p.m.

This shapes up as a very competitive game. Conwell-Egan’s defense had been very good prior to giving up 42 points last week to Episcopal. Lansdale Catholic has played the tougher schedule to date. It also plays some defense, as reflected in the way it held West Catholic to 18 points.

Bergen Tech (4-1) at Morrisville (2-3), Friday, 7 p.m.

The Dawgs need to start winning games fast in order to make the playoffs. Not only has Morrisville lost its last three, but it has only scored three TDs during that span. Bergen Tech is 4-1, but does not play a difficult schedule. If Mo’ville can score three TDs, it can end the losing streak.

Truman (2-4) at Council Rock North (3-3), Saturday, 1:30 p.m.

Just when it looked like the Indians had gotten things together with two straight wins in their bid for a third straight playoff berth, they suffered another defensive collapse in a stunning 44-43 loss to Norristown. Injury-plagued Truman meanwhile, is reeling with three straight losses and has been shut out in its last two games. The Tigers will find the end zone against Rock North, but will not be able to outscore Brandon McIlwain and Co.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Contact Rick Fortenbaugh at rfortenbaugh@trentonian.com, or @RickFort7 on Twitter

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