A perfect regular season earned the North Penn football the opportunity to play on its home field for the entire District 1-6A tournament. It is an advantage the Knights want to use to its fullest.
“I think the most importantly part about playing at Crawford is (you are) in front of the home fans and North Penn has been undefeated in playoffs home (all-time), that’s a big thing on our shoulders, we always think about that,” North Penn senior Nick Vasger said. “We get to show out for all our peers and friends and that’s really a big thing. And we just never really want to lose at Crawford.”
North Penn defended Crawford Stadium easily in the opening round, now the Knights prepare for another challenge as eight-seeded Spring-Ford visits for a district quarterfinal matchup Friday night. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.
“We’re excited that we’re coming back to The Swamp,” said Vasger, a first-team All-Suburban One League Continental Conference pick at defensive end. “Obviously we’re stepping up every week, everyone has to consistently get better every week and Spring-Ford’s a good team. And they’re game-planning for us well and we’re game planning for them. I’m just excited for the game overall.”
Winner advances to face either No. 4 Coatesville or No. 5 Ridley in the semifinals.
The top-seeded Knights (11-0) are in the district quarters for the second straight season after starting the playoffs with a 56-7 victory over No. 16 Haverford. The point total was the highest this season for a North Penn team now averaging 42.1 points per contest. It also surpassed the 55-20 win over Downingtown East in the District 1-AAAA final in 2005 as the most points the Knights have score din the postseason under head coach Dick Beck.
Spring-Ford (9-2) also rolled in their district opener, scoring the first 35 points en route to a 38-7 win visiting No. 9 Central Bucks East. Quarterback T.J. Pergine threw for 216 yards and a pair of touchdowns as the Rams continued to pound teams since their Week 7 loss to Perkiomen Valley. Spring-Ford has outscored its last four opponents 204-14.
“They got some good athletes. No. 12 (Stone Scarcelle) is a good player. I think they flow well as a team,” said Vasger of the Rams. “I think they don’t make a lot of mental mistakes and that’s big especially at this level not making a lot of mistakes, not shooting yourself in the foot and I think they do a good job of that. They’re a tough team overall. They have a good defense, they’re defense is really good, so that’s what we’re worried about.”
Spring-Ford — which is the first PAC opponent for North Penn since the Knights beat Perkiomen Valley in the 2013 District 1-4A semifinals — is scoring 43.7 points a game this season while its defense has posted three shutouts in holding teams to 11.6 points per contest.
Pergine comes into Friday night having throw for 2,122 yards and 26 touchdowns with his top target Scarcelle, who has caught 41 passes for 760 yards and 12 touchdowns. On the ground, Selwyn Simpson has 731 yards and 22 touchdowns on 97 carries.
North Penn quarterback Reece Udinski is in charge of a NP offense posting 438.0 yards per game. Udinski has passed for 2,814 yards and 28 touchdowns in 2016, going 11-of-14 for 168 yards and one score in last Friday’s win over Haverford. Udinski has a bevy of options to throw to including Ricky Johns (39 catches, 769 yards, seven TDs), Justis Henley (33 receptions, 601 yards, five touchdowns) and Jake Hubler (32 catches, 733 yards, five touchdowns).
Nick Dillon scored four rushing touchdowns for the third time this season in the first-round win. Dillon paces the Knights on the ground with 731 and 17 touchdowns on 117 carries.