TOWAMENCIN >> Like every other North Penn football fan, head coach Dick Beck had his heart set on reaching the District One 6A football final.
It was a dream of his to take his team there for the 11th time in the past 15 seasons.
And ironically, it was Beck’s dream that helped get them there.
One of the key plays in the Knights’ 42-25 win over Coatesville Friday night in the district semifinal contest was a hook-and-lateral play that saw North Penn quarterback Reece Udinski throw a flat pass to Jake Hubler, who while he was being tackled lateralled the ball to teammate Nick Dillon, who sped some 53 yards, untouched, to the Red Raiders end zone.
The play, Beck claimed, came to him as he was attempting to fall asleep.
“I always have a hard time falling asleep,” the coach said, “so (Thursday) night, as I was lying there, the play, the formation, it all just came to me.”
Udinski, Hubler and Dillon all did exactly what they needed to do, and the play, on the opening series of the second half, gave the Knights a 28-13 lead, and helped propel them to victory.
“That’s the first time in my career I called a hook and lateral,” Beck beamed.
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As for the Red Raiders, head coach Matt Ortega was proud of his young team’s effort in what for most of them was their first trip to real prime-time, nitty-gritty scholastic football.
It didn’t begin well for Coatesville, which gained a grand total of four yards on its first two possessions, but the Raiders said it was more to do with their opponent than it was their own difficulties.
“They’re a good football team,” said Red Raiders wideout Avery Young. “They’re very well-coached and they played very good defense against us.”
“Their game plan was excellent,” echoed sophomore running back Aaron Young, whose 55-yard run set up the Raiders first real touchdown late in the first quarter, “and we didn’t execute real well.”
But Ortega offered, perhaps, the best explanation for his team’s setback.
“North Penn just made plays when they needed to,” the coach said. “But I couldn’t be prouder of my guys.
“I really feel this team has a bright future. And the good thing about this loss is, I think the guys saw what it takes to be successful. When you play a team like North Penn, you see the discipline and hard work it takes to excel year after year. I feel our guys found out what it will take to get back here. And number one on that list is getting stronger.
“Our guys have to spend a good part of the off-season in the weight room.”
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The game featured an incredible number of penalties – 31 in all – with many of them of the personal foul and unsportsmanlike conduct variety.
“It got pretty rough on both sides of the ball,” Ortega said. “It wasn’t pretty, but sometimes that happens when two intense teams are playing for high stakes.”