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BUCKS FOOTBALL ADVANCE: Pressure is on North Penn to respond at Pennsbury

North Penn (0-2) at Pennsbury (2-0), tonight, 7 p.m. >> No sooner had the word come in last Friday night that North Penn had given up 61 points in a loss to Downington East, and the speculation began as to whether it was good or bad news for Pennsbury.

It was certainly good in the sense that to date, North Penn has not looked like its usual state powerhouse self. The Knights are 0-2 and have given up 102 points in two games after also losing to LaSalle in their opener.

That’s one way to look at it.

The other is North Penn will arrive at Pennsbury (2-0) Friday night desperate to avoid an 0-3 start and has no doubt undergone an intensive week of practice following last week’s defensive collapse.

The other thing working in North Penn’s favor, of course, is it owns a 17-game winning streak over Pennsbury dating back to 1996. That is a very impressive achievement, especially when you consider two of those Pennsbury teams rebounded from losses to the Knights to capture prestigious District 1 Class AAAA titles.

Keeping all of this is mind, there’s no reason to consider North Penn anything but the favorite tonight despite the two teams’ records.

Although its defense has struggled against the run, you can be sure coach “Deputy” Dick Beck has been hard at work to get it corrected.

Furthermore, there has been nothing wrong with the North Penn offense, and Pennsbury’s defense will be up against a unit on a whole different level than it has seen in the first two weeks.

For its part, Pennsbury has made significant progress since last season and one of the biggest reasons is an improved offensive line. Led by senior quarterback Zach Demarchis, the Falcons have also displayed a passing game seldom seen by Pennsbury fans over the years.

One plus for Pennsbury is as the underdog, it can play fast and loose with nothing to lose.

The pressure most definitely is on North Penn, but as they have have so often demonstrated over the years, the Knights know how to handle it.

Penn Wood (0-2) at Council Rock North (1-1), tonight, 7 p.m. >> This is the type of game the Indians need to win to demonstrate they really have made significant progress following last year’s one-win campaign. Penn Wood showed it can throw the ball against Pennsbury last Friday night and it also has a capable running back in Answered Glepay, who can break off big runs if he gets loose. On the other hand, the Patriots are not all that strong on defense and were unable to slow down Pennsbury in any way. If Rock North’s offense can’t got untracked here it will be a bad sign.

Council Rock South (1-1) at Central Bucks South (2-0), tonight, 7 p.m. >> Council Rock South stumbled a bit in a 15-14 loss to CB West last week. Golden Hawks senior quarterback Christian Jabbar did pass for nearly 140 yards, but CR South’s wishbone offense struggled with just 56 rushing yards. This will be difficult. The Titans have already crushed Abington and Council Rock North by a combined margin of 69-13 and look very formidable on both sides of the ball.

Downingtown West (1-1) at Neshaminy (2-0), tonight, 7 p.m. >> Neshaminy whacked the Whippets by 28 points a year ago, and there’s no reason to think this will be much different. West quarterback Kyle Geiser reportedly has a good arm, but the Redskin secondary is strong. Neshaminy is coming off a solid 23-14 win over Pennridge. Its running game again struggled with just 50 yards, but sophomore quarterback Brody McAndrew impressed by going 19-for-31 for 296 yards. Eight of those completions were to Cory Joyce (137 receiving yards).

William Tennent (0-2) at Truman (2-0), tonight, 7 p.m. >> Tennent is coming off a close loss to Bensalem, but it will be a surprise if it still has a chance in the fourth quarter against the Tigers. Truman beat Avon Grove, 35-12, last week and it’s new Wing-T is operating just like a Wing-T should by spreading the ball around. Speedster Sayyid Saunders led the way with a 130 yards and two touchdows, followed by Enzo Paulson (96 rushing yards) and David Akinwande (93 yards). The Tiger defense has also looked good to date.

George School (0-0) at Morrisville (1-1), tonight, 7 p.m. >> Following a tough opening week, Morrisville rebounded with a victory over Valley Forge on its home field. As is so often the case with a prep school, it’s hard to know what George has until it actually takes the field. George did beat Morrisville, 8-0, last year, but lost some key players to graduation from a 3-5 team and long-time coach John Gleeson has since retired. Look for Mo’ville quarterback Felix Feliciano to take advantage of the rebuilding Cougars.

Bensalem (2-) at Archbishop Carroll (2-0), tonight, 7 p.m. >> Although the Owls are off to the 2-0 start, they have been sporadic on offense and will need to pick it up against a Philadelphia Catholic League team that is also 2-0 and just beat Conwell-Egan, 39-38. Bensalem beat William Tennent, 19-14, last week in a game in which quarterback Drasaun Moore showed good accuracy by completing 10 of 13 passes. With the tough league schedule coming up, this borders on a must win for the Owls in terms of going to the playoffs.

Episcopal (1-0) at Conwell-Egan (1-1), Saturday, 7 p.m. >> The Eagles are coming off the wild 39-38 loss to Archbishop Carroll in double overtime. The obvious positive was its offense, which showed it has other options when the opposition gangs up on heralded running back Patrick Garwo. Promising freshman Dajuan Harris showed what he is capable of by running for 102 yards on 15 carries. The not-go-good news was the Eagle defense. A member of the formidable Inter-Ac League and 7-3 a year ago, Episcopal is led by talented quarterback Adam Robinson and just crushed Bonner-Prendergast by the score of 44-0.

Bristol (1-0) at Pennington (0-1), Saturday, 2 p.m. >> The Warriors opened with a 19-6 win over New Church in a game in which the defense looked strong by forcing five turnovers. Although Samir Brisbon did throw for over 100 yards, the Bristol running game was held to under 100 with Eric Bell leading the team with 65. Pennington just gave up 50 points to Morristown-Beard, but it’s hard to know what to make out of that because the North Jersey school runs hot and cold, depending on how much it recruits in a given year. Pennington usually beat Bristol and has a capable senior quarterback in Brandon West. Just a hard game to call.

Contact By Rick Fortenbaugh at rfortenbaugh@trentonian.com OR on Twitter @RickFort7

TOP PHOTOPennsbury senior RB Nasan Robbins, left, fights for yardage in win over Penn Wood Sept. 1 on the Falcons’ home field. (Gregg Slaboda/Trentonian photo)

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