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Haynes’ TD catch helps North Penn hold off CB West

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TOWAMENCIN >> When the North Penn offense needed a jolt in the second half, Jon Haynes reached up a grab one out of the air.

After streaking downfield, Haynes rose up to snag a 29-yard touchdown pass from Solomon Robinson as time expired in the third quarter, giving the Knights a 13-6 lead in their Suburban One League Continental Conference football contest with Central Bucks West.

“We needed a touchdown. Once I heard my name called, I was like I got to try to at least make something out of this play,” Haynes said. “When I came down with the ball, I felt like our team, we got a spark again.

A fourth-down stop on the next series lead to another touchdown as North Penn shrugged off a another slow start to pull away late and stay perfect with a 20-6 victory over the visiting Bucks Friday night at Crawford Stadium.

“What we’re doing right now these are some big, crunch-time wins. It shows a lot of character and a lot of heart, so I can’t be more proud of our guys,” Haynes said. “But we do want to clean some stuff up before the playoffs start.”

Haynes caught four passes for 83 yards, Shamar Edwards added 116 yards rushing on 19 carries and Julian White ran for a pair of one-yard scores as the Knights improved to 8-0 (4-0 conference) despite not being able to shake their recent first-half struggles.

After trailing at the halftime the previous two weeks, Friday the North Penn entered intermission level with CB West (2-6, 0-4) after the Bucks converted an interception late in the second quarter into a touchdown – Jack Neri finding Connor Levant for a one-yard score with six seconds.

“It’s definitely just (starting) slow because in past years we’ve just come out and completely destroyed some of these teams,” Knights junior R.J. Macnamara said. “And I feel like the expectation is to come out and we can just do that but we never do come out and play as we should be playing cause we feel like we should be just walking all over them.”

The Bucks, meanwhile, continue to play close games but don’t have many wins to show for it as they dropped their third straight.

 “We’ve been in every game that we’ve played, every game that we’ve played has been tight, a battle,” Bucks coach Rob Rowan said. “And I sound a little redundant, but week after week, we just have to learn how to win and that usually comes down to about four or five plays in a game like the big pass play down there, right, converting on that fourth down. It’s just big plays that end up separating a game.”

In the first quarter, Central Bucks West twice had the ball deep in North Penn territory, but came away with no points. Down 13-6 early in the fourth, the Bucks went for it on 4th-and-2 from their own 43 only for NP’s Nate Brown to stuff a run for no gain.

“Just play to win,” said Rowan of the fourth-down decision. “It was 13-6 at time, there was about eight minutes left on the clock, I feel confident in our guys, our offensive line and they made a push.

“But I want our kids to understand that we’re going to play to win games. We’re not going to play (with) fear, we’re not going to play fearful. And I thought it was the right opportunity to go for it there.”

The Knights extended their lead to 20-6 on the ensuing drive when White ran in from a yard out with 6:54 left.

Joseph Fay paced Central Bucks West on the ground with 63 yards on 10 carries. Neri was 10-of-16 passing for 78 yards and a score. Jack Fallon had four catches for 50 yards.

North Penn, which won its 12th straight meeting with the Bucks, allowed a season-low in points and held an opponent under seven points for the first time since beating William Tennent 52-6 in Week Nine of the 2016 season. The six points was also the fewest West has scored this year.

“I feel like d-line started to pick up, we started to get more penetration in the backfield,” Macnamara said. “The secondary started to cover their man a lot better than they were in the first quarter and the first half. I feel like everyone came out ready to play the second half.”

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Both teams have SOL Continental home game Friday – North Penn takes on Central Bucks South while the Bucks face Souderton.

North Penn opened the third quarter with a three-and-out while the Bucks drove down to the Knights 24 before turning the ball after an incompletion on fourth down.

The next series, Robinson – who finished 5-of-10 for 90 yards – found Haynes for 12 yards on 3rd-and-7 to the West 33. Two plays later, Robinson went downfield to a Haynes, who slowed up a bit to time his jump and hauled in the pass despite tight coverage by Jake Ojert.

Both Haynes and Ojert had a hold off the ball as they went to the ground, but with dual possession going to the receiver, Haynes had a 29-yard TD catch and North Penn was up 13-6 with the clock hitting all zeroes in the third.

“It’s a play we’ve been working on all week in practice and Solomon he threw up a good 50/50 ball and that’s all we ask for him, to just throw up the ball, give me a chance on it,” Haynes said. “I jumped up, grabbed it. I just wanted to get my hands on the ball before the defender could.”

The Knights took a 6-0 lead in the first quarter with a nine-play, 71-yard series White capped by plowing across the goal line from a yard out at 5:15.

The Bucks move down to the North Penn 15 on the next series but on 4th-and-3 their run was stopped for no gain. Two plays later, an Owen Shields interception set West up at the Knights 20 yet that drive ended with a missed 36-yard field goal.

Central Bucks West finally got on the scoreboard after another interception – this one by Fallon, who returned the pick to North Penn 42 with 50 seconds remaining in the half.

Neri dropped in a pass into Fallon, who scampered 30 yards to the one. On first and goal, Neri rolled right and hit Levant in the end zone as the teams went into halftime even 6-6.

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