North Penn opens the playoffs on the road Friday night, as the Knights travel to Unionville to face the Ches-Mont League American Division champion in a District 1-AAAA first round contest.
Kickoff is at 7:30 p.m.
The Knights ride a seven-game win streak into the postseason, capped by last week’s 63-21 victory over Abington, which clinched the Suburban One League National Conference title — North Penn’s third straight conference crown.
Knights coach Dick Beck likes the development of the passing attack as they head into the postseason.
“I think that (quarterback) Reece (Udinski) has been good all year,” Beck said. “And I think the way Jake Hubler has developed a great rapport with Ricky (Johns),” the coach said of the wide receivers, “provides a good combination.
“Plus with (running back) Justin Ostopowicz coming out of the backfield, and (wide receiver) Justis Henley, we have some weapons that can catch the ball and make things happen in the open field.”
Add to that a loaded backfield that includes Delaware State-bound Nyfease West and workhorse Nick Isabella, and the ninth-seeded Knights (8-2) are humming right along going into the postseason.
“We gotta keep working hard. Nothing’s finished yet,” said Isabella, whose team hopes for a deep push into the postseason. “We’re feeling pretty good but we still have to work on a couple things.”
North Penn looks to limit the production of Indian halfback Brandon Boon, who had an 80-yard touchdown run, a 30-yard touchdown pass and a total of nine carries for 131 yards in last week’s 54-6 rout of Sun Valley.
Quarterback Brendan Boyle showed his versatility in the regular-season finale last week for No. 8 Unionville (8-2), completing 5-of-5 passes for 66 yards and a touchdown, and also adding three carries for 85 yards.
Both of Unionville’s losses came to teams that finished a combined 20-0 in the regular season (Downingtown East and Exeter) while the Knights’ two defeats also came to top-caliber competition — Downingtown East and perennial power La Salle (5-3).
This is Unionville’s first playoff appearance since 2012, when the Indians fell 38-21 in the first round to eventual Eastern Champion Coatesville.
North Penn makes its 13th playoff appearance in 14 years under Beck, and since the playoffs expanded to 16 teams in 2006, the Knights are 7-1 in opening-round contests, the only loss coming last year to West Chester Henderson.
At stake is a spot in next week’s quarterfinals, against the winner of the No. 1 Downingtown East-No. 16 Plymouth Whitemarsh matchup.
North Penn at Unionville
District One Class AAAA First Round
Time/Place: Friday, 7:30 p.m., at Unionville High School.
On the Air: The game will be broadcast live on the radio on 1440 AM and live on the internet at wnpv1440.com.
On Twitter: @khunter10.
Records: The Knights are 8-2 overall and finished 7-0 in the Suburban One League National Conference. Unionville is 8-2 overall and finished 6-0 in the Ches-Mont League American Division.
What’s at Stake: A spot in next week’s quarterfinals, against the winner of the No. 1 Downingtown East and No. 16 Plymouth Whitemarsh matchup.
Last Week: The Knights wrapped up the SOL National title with a 63-21 rout of Abington while Unionville had a similar kind of game, winning 54-6 over Sun Valley to clinch the Ches-Mont American.
Last Meeting: The two teams have never met.
Players to Watch: Quarterback Reece Udinski has been hot for North Penn while running back Brandon Boon does a lot of things for Unionville.
Prediction: North Penn 31, Unionville 21.
West Catholic vs. Lansdale Catholic
Philadelphia Catholic League Class AA Final
Time/Place: Saturday, 1 p.m., at Cardinal O’Hara High School.
On Twitter: @srichards31.
Records: LC is 8-2 overall and finished 3-1 in the Philadelphia Catholic League Class AA. West Catholic is 6-4 overall and finished 4-0 in the PCL AA.
What’s at Stake: The winner advances to face either Prep Charter or Delaware Valley Charter — those two square off Friday night at 6 at the South Philly Super Site.
Last Week: The Crusaders prevailed 35-12 over Conwell-Egan in the semifinals while West Catholic won 46-0 over Neumann-Goretti.
Last Meeting: The Burrs won a defensive battle, 18-2, back in Week Five.
Players to Watch: The Crusaders’ Ryan Quigley did not play in the last matchup between the two because of injury, and could be in line for a big game. For West Catholic, 6-foot-3, 330-pound Charles Trabi opens up holes for running back Calil Wortham.
LC coach Tom Kirk says: “It’s West Catholic and everybody else. So you gotta step up and figure that’s a game where you have to come out, play your best game and see what happens.”
Prediction: Lansdale Catholic 21, West Catholic 20.
Pennridge at Ridley
Time/Place: Friday, 7 p.m., at Ridley High School.
On Twitter: @mpcabrey.
Records: The Rams are 7-3 overall and finished 5-2 in the SOL National. The Green Raiders are 6-4 overall and finished 4-4 in the Central League.
Last Week: The Rams romped 51-26 over Bensalem while Ridley lost 41-14 at Conestoga.
Last Year: The two teams did not meet.
Players to Watch: Judens Desrosiers and Nick Hirsch are a nice running tandem for the Rams while quarterback Cade Stratton directs the offense for Ridley.
Prediction: Pennridge 28, Ridley 21.
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