TOWAMENCIN >> For North Penn’s football team, it was “championship week.”
With undefeated Central Bucks South coming to town, the Knights felt that whichever team came out on top would, in the words of senior fullback/linebacker Anthony Andrews, be in the driver’s seat for the conference title. North Penn’s defense gave its best performance of the year as the Knights belted the Titans 40-9 and sent a very clear message.
The road to the Suburban One League Continental Conference title still runs through Crawford Stadium.
“We found more enthusiasm at practice, our practices are more live,” Andrews said. “We’re getting more work done and that’s huge. It’s just family. We’re all working together as a team. We called this ‘championship week’ and that’s a huge win against an undefeated team.”
The Knights’ defense, which has had its share of problems this season, was suffocating. North Penn forced and recovered two fumbles, held South to a field goal after the Titans had gotten inside the 10-yard line in the second quarter and made the Titans turn the ball over on downs on the opening drive of the second half.
Andrews, who scored two rushing touchdowns, had a major influence on the defensive side as he adjusts to being a two-way player. The senior suffered a concussion in the first quarter of the Week 3 game against Pennsbury and missed the next week’s game but since returning against Pennridge has been playing outside linebacker.
The 5-foot-10, 210-pounder made six tackles and recovered the first CB South fumble, causally holding it aloft and waiting for any referee to see it and award his team possession.
“It’s a game-changer,” Andrews said. “You get the ball back and get to go score again. It’s huge.”
South was again without the services of Jack Johns at quarterback. The towering senior, who missed las week’s game with a shoulder injury, did play about half his team’s offensive snaps as a wide receiver and punted, but did not take a snap under center.
It might not have made much difference with the way the Knights were getting after it. The Knights’ defensive line got good push all night, with tackle Noah Fox dropping Titans quarterback Josh Consoletti for an early sack.
FOOTBALL 7:03 Q1: North Penn 6, CB South 0
DePaul 19 pass to Beck on 4th down pic.twitter.com/2q2LZi0M0q
— Andrew Robinson (@ADRobinson3) September 28, 2017
The linebackers also feasted too, with senior Owen Thomas picking up two tackles for loss and a sack of Consoletti that led to the second CB South fumble.
“We were aggressive,” Thomas said. “We played well, we tackled really well and it was a lot better than it had been in the weeks before. It’s a proving point, we’re not here to be joked with, we’re a team that’s going to make a run at people’s money so it’s a great win for us.”
Offensively, the Knights stayed hot and benefitted from their short-field opportunities. North Penn drove the opening kickoff down the field, scoring a touchdown on a 4th-and-1 play when Steve DePaul hit Joey Beck for a 19-yard score.
The Knights’ second score also came on a fourth down when just four plays after recovering a fumble, Andrews ripped off a 21-yard scoring run on a 4th-and-1 play. DePaul had a solid game, going 11-for-20 for 144 yards and three touchdowns against an interception.
Thomas, a Villanova recruit, also caught three balls for 48 yards while senior Justis Henley had five grabs for 71 yards and a touchdown with three of his catches moving the chains. KJ Cartwright ran for 127 yards, with 68 coming on a 68-yard breakaway run late in the third quarter.
“I would like to see a little more consistency out of the offensive line and there were a couple mental mistakes that hurt us, but when it was time to make a play we made a big play and had a couple clutch catches,” Knights coach Dick Beck said. “I thought (DePaul) again threw the ball well.”
But it was the defense’s night to shine as it held an opponent to single-digits for the first time all season. North Penn held South to 257 yards of total offense and just 62 through the air, with a 32-yard grab by Johns accounting for more than half of it.
FOOTBALL 8:30 Q2; North Penn 12, CB South 0
Anthony Andrews 21 run on 4th-1. pic.twitter.com/69G0yehP17
— Andrew Robinson (@ADRobinson3) September 28, 2017
“I feel like we needed it and I feel like we did well,” Fox said. “It started with us coming up strong at the front and our linebackers all did well. We had to come off the ball hard and we shut down their linemen, which shut down their running backs.”
After starting 0-2 and giving up a lot of points in those games, it would have been easy for the Knights to fold up. But they didn’t and have now won four straight games and are 3-0 in the Continental conference.
With a defense that has found its teeth, it’s a driver’s seat the Knights aren’t going cede easily.
“I guess we were just playing soft,” Thomas said. “This week, we were very aggressive on both sides of the ball.”
NORTH PENN 40, CENTRAL BUCKS SOUTH 9
CENTRAL BUCKS SOUTH 0 3 0 6 – 9
NORTH PENN 6 20 7 7 – 40
NP – Steve DePaul 19 pass to Joey Beck (Kick miss) 7:03
NP – Anthony Andrews 21 run (Two-point fail) 8:30
CBS – Ryan Shoch 28 field goal 3:05
NP – DePaul 16 pass to Justis Henley (Kelly Macnamara kick) 1:46
NP – DePaul 5 pass to Khan Jamal (Manamara kick) 17.8
NP – KJ Cartwright 68 run (Macnamara kick) 2:33
CBS – Josh Consoletti 9 pass to Jason Horvath (two-point fail) 11:48
NP – Andrews 11 run (Macnamara kick) 7:46
First Downs 17 14
Rushes-Yards 27-205 44-195
Passing 11-20-3-1 6-18-1-0
Passing Yards 144 62
Total Yards 349 257
Fumbles-Lost 2-2 2-1
Penalties-Yards 6-57 4-30
Rushing: NP – KJ Cartwright 12-127, Khan Jamal 6-46, Anthony Andrews 3-43, Steve DePaul 2-(-23), Justis Henley 1-0, Dars Bowsky 1-1, David Riccardi 2-14; CBS – Ryan Watson 23-100, Josh Consoletti 8-38, John Mcsweeney 6-19, Brady Prezelski 1-0, Tom McLaughlin 2-31, Dylan Cetodal 2-2, Ryan Shoch 1-1, Matt Cohen 1-4
Passing: NP – Steve DePaul 11-20-3-1-144; CBS – Consoletti 6-18-1-0-62
Receiving: NP – Justis Henley 5-71, Owen Thomas 3-48, Joey Beck 1-19, Khan Jamal 2-6; CBS – McSweeney 3-18, Prezelski 1-3, Jack Johns 1-32, Jason Horvath 1-9
Interceptions: CBS – Horvath.