North Penn continues its march through the District 1-AAAA Playoffs Friday night when the Knights take on the tournament’s top seed, squaring off against the Downingtown East in a quarterfinal battle at Downingtown West High School’s Kottmeyer Stadium.
Kickoff is at 7 p.m.
“This is what you work all year for,” said Knights coach Dick Beck, whose team is coming off a 48-7 win over Unionville in the opening round. “You want to get deep into the playoffs and take your shots.”
The No. 9 Knights (9-2) ride an eight-game winning streak into this one, including last week’s impressive playoff opener, in which North Penn was overwhelming on both sides of the ball and made pivotal plays on special teams.
This time of year often provides a little mystery, but in this case, these two teams know each other quite well. They met back in Week Three, when, in the final moments, North Penn had a touchdown pass taken off the board because of an illegal shift penalty and then an interception by East defensive end Cary Angeline clinched a wild 28-24 win for the unbeaten Cougars (11-0).
North Penn has not lost since, and hopes to be the team advancing to a semifinal showdown against either No. 13 Neshaminy or No. 12 Quakertown.
“We’ve seen them, we have a lot of film on them from all season,” North Penn’s Justin Ostopowicz said of East, “so we just have to have a focused week of practice and get ready,”
Ostopowicz was a versatile running and receiving threat last week for the Knights and is part of a tough trio of backs for North Penn, along with Nyfease West and Nick Isabella.
Quarterback Reece Udinski has been able to spread the ball around to a variety of targets, including a dangerous tandem of wide receivers in Ricky Johns and Jake Hubler.
The Cougars have gotten to this point in large part due to their own passing attack, especially in last week’s 35-28 come-from-behind win over Plymouth Whitemarsh.
The No. 16 Colonials took a 21-7 lead into halftime, but East rallied behind quarterback Saunders Healy, who completed 12-of-19 passes for 152 yards and five touchdowns, including three to tight end Cary Angeline — who has committed to Southern Cal — and a pair to fullback Noah Hahn.
The Cougars aim to make it back to the district semis for the second straight year — last season they fell to Coatesville 31-12 in the semis.
North Penn is 2-0 against East in postseason play, the two victories coming in the 2005 District One Final (55-20) and most recently in the 2010 quarterfinals (49-33).
North Penn at Downingtown East
District One Class AAAA Quarterfinals
Time/Place: Friday, 7 p.m., at Kottmeyer Stadium, Downingtown West 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: @mpcabrey, @khunter10.
Records: The No. 9 Knights are 9-2 overall and finished 7-0 in the Suburban One League National Conference. No. 1 Downingtown East is 11-0 overall and finished 6-0 in the Ches-Mont National Division.
What’s at Stake: A spot in next week’s semifinals, against the winner of the No. 13 Neshaminy and No. 12 Quakertown matchup.
Last Week: The Knights routed No. 8 Unionville 48-7 while Downingtown East rallied to beat No. 16 Plymouth Whitemarsh 35-28.
Last Meeting: The Cougars defeated the Knights 28-24 back in Week Three.
Players to Watch: Quarterback Reece Udinski has two reliable targets outside in wide receivers Ricky Johns and Jake Hubler. East quarterback Saunders Healy loves to get the ball to wide receiver Cary Angeline.
Prediction: North Penn 35, Downingtown East 28.
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