Fairless Hills, Pa. >> The Pennsbury High football team’s long losing streak against North Penn continued Friday night, but unlike some of its previous disappointments against the Knights, this one had a bit of a different feel to it.
Facing a North Penn team that sorely needed a win to avoid an 0-3 start, underdog Pennsbury more than held its own over the last three quarters before falling by the score of 29-20 despite a tremendous effort by senior quarterback Zach Demarchis.
Although it was Pennsbury’s first loss of the season, it was sure a lot better than last year when the Falcons were blasted, 38-0, by the perennial state powerhouse.
As such, at least the Falcons came away knowing they were competitive against one of the big boys in the district.
As it turned out, there were two plays that absolutely killed the home team at Falcon Field.
The first came in the first quarter after North Penn had opened the game with a 67-yard drive capped by a 3-yard touchdown run by Dars Bowsky. Pennsbury replied with a long drive of its own and then lined up for a short field goal attempt by Chris Knop.
This proved to be an absolute disaster as the kick was partially blocked and Justis Henley scooped it up at the 3 yard line. Henley then cut across the field and raced 97 yards for a touchdown against a Pennsbury team that hardly any speed on the field with its field goal unit.
Before Pennsbury could recover, North Penn struck again on the third play of the second quarter when KJ Cartwright took off on a 46-yard touchdown run against the stunned Falcons.
Just like that North Penn had a 19-0, greatly aided by the probable nine-point swing on the blocked field goal and Henley’s resulting touchdown. Those nine points proved to be the final margin of victory for the Lansdale team.
To its credit, vastly improved Pennsbury didn’t get down. Instead, it outscored North Penn 20-10 from there with Demarchis throwing for a touchdown pass and running for two more.
The touchdown pass came in the second quarter when Dave Burke scored on a crossing pattern in the end zone to cut the lead to 19-7. After Pennsbury threatened again at the end of the second quarter with time running out, it looked like it might have the momentum because it received the ball to start the second half.
Time for killer play No. 2.
On the very first play of the second half, Pennsbury fumbled the ball away on its own 40 yard line. As is its way, North Penn took full advantage with a 16-yard touchdown run by Bowsky.
Once again the Falcon refused to go away and scored later in the quarter on a 34-yard sprint by Demarchis down the left sideline.
After North Penn upped its lead to 15 points on a 35-yard field by kicker Kelly Macnamara, Pennsbury scored again on a 14-yard keeper by Demarchis to cut the lead to nine midway through the last quarter.
Knowing his team would need a two-point conversion at some point in the fourth quarter, Falcon coach Dan McShane went for it right away. It didn’t work out as a Demarchis pass fell incomplete and North Penn was able to kill off much of the clock from there.
Demarchis was outstanding. Passing-wise, he completed 19 of 33 passes for 163 yards. Showing great scrambling ability, Demarchis also ran for 149 yards on 22 carries.
North Penn quarterback Steve DePaul also did a very nice job, completing 7 of 11 passes for 131 yards. Several of those completions resulted in key first downs against a Pennsbury defense that for the most part was stout against the run.
Pennsbury will be back in action next week at William Tennent. Considering North Penn could very well prove to be toughest team it faces during the regular season, this wasn’t a bad effort at all.
North Penn 29, Pennsbury 20
(Sept. 8 at Pennsbury)
North Penn (1-2) 12 7 7 3 — 29
Pennsbury (2-1) 0 7 7 6 — 20
NP — Bowsky 3 run (run failed)
NP – Henley 97 blocked field goal return (run failed)
NP — Cartwright 46 run (MacNamara kick)
P – Burke 21 pass from Demarchis (Knop kick)
NP — Bowsky 16 run (MacNamara kick)
P — Demarchis 34 run (Knop kick)
NP — MacNamara 35 field goal
P — Demarchis 14 run (pass failed)