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Bucks Football Advance: Rivals Pennsbury, Neshaminy set for rematch in PIAA District I quarterfinal

Running back Joel Stills and Neshaminy host Pennsbury on Friday night in a rematch of a highly competitive regular season meeting. (John Blaine — For 21st-Century Media)

The weatherman is calling for frigid conditions, but you can be sure it will be a hot time on the Neshaminy High School’s “Heartbreak Ridge’’ Friday night.

The reason is for the first time in a series that goes back over 80 years, arch-rivals Pennsbury (9-2) and Neshaminy (10-1) are going to play each other twice in the same year.

After meeting two weeks in ago in a game Neshaminy won, 21-20, on a flea flicker with :30 remaining after falling behind 20-6 in the fourth quarter, this time the two will square off in the quarterfinals of the 16-team PIAA District 1 Class 6A bracket.

The winner will advance into the semifinals against the survivor of Friday’s game between Dowingtown East (10-1) and Coatesville (10-1).

As the No. 1 seed, Neshaminy will be at home if if beats the Falcons. Should Pennsbury prevail, it will be on the road next Friday night.

Following losses by Truman and Bristol last week, the only other remaining Lower Bucks team in postseason action is Conwell-Egan. It will travel to New Hope Friday night in a semifinal round game of the District 1/12 Class 3A playoffs.

Pennsbury (9-2) at Neshaminy (10-1), Friday, 7 p.m. >> Normally when teams meet for the second time, it’s the loser that needs to make the adjustments. This isn’t necessarily the case here, however, because it was Pennsbury that actually had the better of the play for three quarters before Neshaminy came back. What Pennsbury needs to do is cut down on the turnovers. The Falcons turned it over three times deep in Neshaminy territory, and if they had kicked just one field goal on those three opportunities there might have been a much different result. What Neshaminy must do from the first game is improve its pass protection. Pennsbury had a lot of success blitzing and recorded a whopping eight sacks while also forcing Redskin quarterback Brody McAndrew to hurry some throws. Look for Neshaminy to possibly run more draws and screen passes to neutralize the Pennsbury pressure. Pennsbury will have revenge on its mind and is certainly capable of getting it. Furthermore, it you have to pick which one is the more desirable to win it’s the playoff game that’s more important On the flip side, it just couldn’t get any better for Neshaminy than beating Pennsbury twice in one year. After coming back in the last minute four times this year, Neshaminy will also take to the field thinking it’s never out of the game and has some magic working in its favor. Just like the first game, it’s simply too close to call.

Conwell-Egan (4-6) at New Hope (9-1), Friday, 7 p.m. >> Don’t be confused by the records. On the opening night of the season, Conwell-Egan blasted the Lions by the score of 55-14. In that game back on the last weekend of August, the Eagles piled up 380 rushing yards. A running back who is drawing Division I attention, junior Pat Garwo showed the way with 157 yards on eight carries and four rushing touchdowns. He also caught a TD pass to finish with five scores in all. New Hope is led by the school’s all-time leading passer, senior quarterback Pat Garritano. Look for a more competitive game as New Hope has recovered from the opening loss by ripping off nine wins in a row. Still, Conwell-Egan plays by far a tougher schedule, and its earlier 41-point victory over New Hope speaks for itself.

PIAA District 1 Class 6A Quarterfinals

Pennsbury (9-2) at Neshaminy (10-1)

Downingtown East (10-1) at Coatesville (10-1)

Pennridge (9-2) at Perkiomen Valley (10-1)

Garnet Valley (10-1) at North Penn (9-2)

PIAA District 1/12 Class 3A Semifinals

Lansdale Catholic (3-6) at School of the Future (6-2)

Conwell-Egan (4-6) at New Hope (9-1)

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