His very first carry of the evening, he evaded one tackler and dragged two others to finish off a gain of 15 yards, suggesting this would be a Nick Dillon kind of night.
“I felt great,” the senior running back said. “I just need the energy and just wanna make big plays and make this team proud.”
Dillon had the energy all game long in the 42-25 District 1-6A semifinal victory over Coatesville, grinding out 148 yards on 26 carries in a performance that mixed both his power and breakaway speed.
After Anthony Andrews scored on a 17-yard run to get the Knights (13-0) on the board early in the second quarter, Dillon finished off a drive by taking a pitch to the left and racing to the corner, scoring the first of his four rushing touchdowns in the contest.
“The only thing we thought about was running downfield and getting the points on the board,” Dillon said.
The Knights pounded out 229 yards on the ground, again maintaining the type of balance that is so difficult — almost impossible — for opponents to deal with. Quarterback Reece Udinski triggered a passing attack that netted 285 yards through the cool evening air of Crawford Stadium.
Along with tremendous blocking by the Knights’ offensive line, the attack was in peak form during a crucial stretch in the second and third quarters, scoring touchdowns on five of seven possessions.
“It feels great to be moving on,” said Dillon, as the Knights now get ready for a District One Title showdown with Garnet Valley Friday night. “We work hard every day. We come out here and just wanna do great things.”
Owen Thomas’ blocked extra point, which provided a loud thud midway through the fourth quarter, made one more statement for the Knights.
“We practice that a lot,” Thomas said with a big smile afterwards. “We’ve done that same thing a couple times and I just told the guys ‘c’mon, you need to get me through there.’ They did their job — all the credit to them and I just got through there.”
The block kept the score at 35-19, with the Knights adding a fourth touchdown by Dillon on the ensuing drive to finish things off.
North Penn’s victory touched all three phases.
“I love it — 42-25 against a great Coatesville team,” Thomas said. “It feels amazing.”
Knights look to sharpen their swords
Penalties clogged up an otherwise well-played contest Friday night — the two teams combining for almost 200 yards in flags, not to mention the ones that were offsetting or declined.
The Knights also focus in on some other aspects of their game they’d like to fine-tune heading into the district final clash Friday night.
“I’m happy with (holding Coatesville to) 25 points, but one of their scores was an interception returned for a touchdown — great individual play by them and bad by us,” Knights coach Dick Beck said. “And the long bomb they had there at the end of the game — it was frustrating because we had two guys there.”