SHARON HILL >> Having received the opening kickoff, Academy Park coach Jason Vosheski sent his offense on the field with only 10 players. The Knights lined up with no one at center as they paid tribute to former teammate Jaion Smith, who died in an auto accident in June, just before his junior year was to have ended.
Referee Bob Tinsley whistled AP for a delay of game penalty, but Pennsbury coach Dan McShane had his team decline the yardage.
That was the last time the visiting Falcons were nice to their hosts. They accepted all the yardage they could get on the ground and in the air, they took advantage of numerous Knights mistakes, and they made the long ride back to Bucks County more enjoyable after claiming a 27-20 decision.
The loss was Academy Park’s first at home — regular season or playoffs — since a 20-13 setback to Glen Mills Oct. 25, 2013.
“Academy Park has a good football team, and Jason does a great job with them,” McShane said. “We had a tough year last year (5-5). But we’re a lot more experienced this year.”
What Academy Park experienced in trying to stop senior quarterback Zach Demarchis will cause nightmares for Vosheski and his defensive coaches.
“He had trouble with a baseball injury (a broken wrist) a year ago,” McShane said. “He spent the offseason working with us getting ready for this year.”
Demarchis picked up 139 yards on only eight carries, including a 73-yard dash that set up the Falcons’ second touchdown, which came two minutes before halftime. He also was 11-for-18 passing for 122 yards, including a 45-yard strike to David Burke less than two minutes after the Knights had opened the scoring early in the first minute of the second quarter.
In the second half, Demarchis added a 17-yard TD run in the opening minute of the fourth quarter, and teamed with Burke for 27 yards and six more points with 5:17 to play.
“They have a good team,” Vosheski said. “And that quarterback is a huge playmaker. He was the difference in the game tonight.”
The Falcons accounted for 202 yards on 27 rushing attempts in addition to Demarchis’ passing yardage.
“We have a ton of inexperience, and it showed,” Vosheski said. “It was a lot of things; tackling, blocking. We’d move the ball then get a penalty and go backwards.
“But whatever it was, we were doing it to ourselves. We lacked a sense of urgency when we needed to have it.”
The Knights were able to score first as Skylor Fillis hit Kareem Burton with a 20-yard touchdown pass 41 seconds into the second quarter. The next Park points didn’t come until they had fallen behind, 21-8. This time, Fillis dropped back from the Pennsbury 16, couldn’t find a receiver open, and eluded one tackler and bounced off another on his way to the end zone.
A Fillis conversion pass to Jermal Martin cut AP’s deficit to seven points.
A 73-yard Falcons drive left the home team only 5:17 to try to make a miracle comeback. The Knights took two minutes and one second to go from their 30 to the end zone, with Fillis and Burton getting together on an 18-yard completion for the TD.
Academy Park tried a pair of short kickoffs but was penalized twice for violating the new pop-up kickoff rule. The Knights did get the ball back with 2:08 left, but they were stopped after one first down.
Next, Pennsbury will be at home Friday, Sept. 1 to face another Del Val League opponent, Penn Wood, while Academy Park will visit Unionville.
Pennsbury 27, Academy Park 20
(Aug. 25 at Academy Park)
PENNSBURY 0 14 0 13 – 27
ACADEMY PARK 0 6 0 14 – 20
AP — Kareem Burton 20-yd. pass from Skylor Fillis (run failed)
P — David Burke 45-yd. pass from Zach Demarchis (Christopher Knop kick)
P — Andrew Basalyga 1-yd. run (Knop kick)
P — Demarchis 17-yd. run (Knop kick)
AP — Skylor Fillis 16 run (Jermal Martin pass from Fillis)
P — Burke 27-yd. pass from Demarchis (kick failed)
AP — Burton 18-yd. pass from Fillis (run failed)