In what will be the first meeting ever between the two programs, North Penn hosts Garnet Valley Friday night at Crawford Stadium with the District 1-6A Championship at stake.
Kickoff is at 7 p.m.
The Jaguars will be vying for their first district title since 2007 (3A) while the Knights will be going for their seventh, their last one coming in 2011.
Tenth-seeded Garnet Valley (11-2) reached the final by virtue of its 44-27 upset victory over No. 3 Perkiomen Valley, while the top-seeded Knights (13-0) remained unbeaten with a 42-25 victory over No. 4 Coatesville.
North Penn, making its 11th district final appearance overall and 11th in the last 15 years — all under coach Dick Beck, comes in with a devastating balance between the run and pass.
Quarterback Reece Udinski has not only been hot but historic. Last week he surpassed the District One record for passing yards in a season, previously set by Downingtown East’s Pat Devlin in 2005.
Udinski is currently No. 2 on the all-time list with 3,402, with a chance to pass Stephen Sturm of Perk Valley, who finished the season last week with the loss to Garnet Valley, totaling 3,438 yards for the year.
The Knights’ senior QB found five different receivers last week, all for substantial gains, including wide receiver Justis Henley, who finished with four grabs for 104 yards.
Ricky Johns has been a deep threat as well as a dangerous runner out of the backfield. In the victory over Coatesville, Johns made a pair of catches for 39 yards and added six runs for 31.
With all of their firepower through the air, North Penn is still fully capable of keeping the ball on the ground. The Knights can hand the ball off to Nick Dillon, who reached the end zone four times last week and racked up 148 yards.
On defense, North Penn is just as solid. Linebacker Owen Thomas gets to the ball carrier with regularity while the secondary continues to force takeaways — two Red Raider interceptions helped seal up the victory in the semis.
North Penn’s defense now prepares for what could be its toughest challenge of the season.
Garnet Valley’s triple option attacked compiled a whopping 426 yards in knocking out favored Perk Valley last week. Fullback Matt Lassik had the finest evening of all Jaguar runners, gaining 244 yards on 35 carries and four scores.
On the other side of the ball, Garnet Valley harassed Sturm all night long and dropped PV’s prolific signal caller eight times for sacks. The Jaguars will need to generate similar pressure this week if they are to stop a North Penn offense that has been averaging 42 points per game in the playoffs.
The winner of this contest breaks through to next week’s state semifinals, to take on the winner of the St. Joseph’s Prep-Parkland contest.
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