TOWAMENCIN >> Solomon Robinson, coach Dick Beck said, had his finest game under center, Jon Haynes was on the receiving end of it, and North Penn two-minute-drilled all of the suspense out of Crawford Stadium by halftime.
Late in the second quarter, the Knights moved the ball 80 yards in just five plays, with Robinson hitting Haynes for a 27-yard score with 50 seconds to go, and the 21-3 lead it provided proved to be insurmountable for visiting Central Bucks South.
“Last week (in the win over Central Bucks West), we ran a similar play,” Haynes said afterwards. “We wanted to try to spread them out, see if I would get the same coverage. Solomon trusted me, threw up another good ball, threw it where only I could adjust to it and make a play on it. And it worked out just like last week.”
And just like last week, and the seven weeks before, North Penn came out with a hard-earned victory, locking down a 21-10 win Friday night over the rival Titans to clinch the Suburban One League Continental Conference title.
“We’ll see if we can get a win (over William Tennent) and get the No. 1 seed in the playoffs,” Beck said. “That’s what we’re hoping for.”
North Penn established its ground game on its first series and would rack up 262 yards on the ground on a crisp night at Crawford. Just as important, the passing game produced big gains of 27, 25, 16 and 25.
Robinson hit the big plays when they were there and improvised with his legs. He threw for 101, ran for 65 more.
“I though he had his best game by far – not just throwing the ball, but also scrambling and making some plays,” Beck said of his QB. “That (touchdown before the half) was really nice. I thought Solomon did a nice job throwing strikes with guys open. And Jon just ran past his guy.”
Haynes caught a pair of passes for 37 yards and a score.
“We have a lot of athletes at receiver,” Haynes said. “We have a really good quarterback in Solomon, and sometimes it just hasn’t come together for us: one person missing a block or a receiver dropping a ball, an overthrow, or somebody running too short a route.
“Now is the time we gotta sharpen up. And I think we’ve been doing that, not exactly where we wanna be, but we’re getting better each week.”
North Penn protected its 18-point lead in the second half, holding a tough runner in Connor DiLissio to 54 yards rushing for the game.
Quarterback Carter Hallgren played well in relief of injured starter Josh Consoletti, throwing a 25-yard touchdown pass to Brady Prezelski to cut the margin to 21-10 in the third quarter, but the Knights came up with two fourth-down stops and also forced a turnover to keep South from creeping closer.
“I think we played pretty consistent. We let up a few big plays but I feel, for the most part, we played consistent and we played tough all night,” said Haynes, a key member of the secondary. “We bent but we didn’t break much.”
South was chasing North Penn all evening, thanks to the way the Knights began the first quarter.
North Penn moved it 56 yards in nine plays, reaching the end zone on a six-yard burst by Shamar Edwards (93 yds). Sean Smith raced away to a 79-yard kickoff return for South (3-6, 2-3 conference), leading to a 20-yard field goal off the foot of Brian Madden that cut the margin to 7-3.
But the Knights’ ground game kicked in again, with Julian White (93 yds) rumbling 35 yards for a touchdown late in the first quarter. A South penalty moved North Penn closer on the conversion attempt, and the Knights cashed in when Robinson hit Evan Spann for the two-point play, widening the gap to 15-3.
There it remained until late in the second quarter, when Robinson moved the Knights downfield in a hurry. R.J. Macnamara gained 12 yards on the ground and then Edwards gained six. Robinson hit Haynes for 10 and then connected with Edwards for 25 before finding a streaking Haynes on his way to the end zone.
“We got a couple guys back on our offensive line. This is really the first time we were healthy and that was a big help up front,” Haynes said.
South’s defense, anchored by standout linebacker Matt Norris, didn’t give up a point in the second half, but North Penn made the steep climb to 9-0.
“It feels great. It’s never easy,” said a smiling Haynes, on his way to the team’s Senior Night dinner. “Everyone thinks it’s expected of us, but it’s not a given. We come into the summer with a target on our back and play some good teams. We work super hard. We work extremely hard for this. We wanna enjoy every bit of this feeling.”
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