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Reporter All-Area Football: Edwards exceptional for district finalist North Penn

North Penn's Shamar Edwards turns up field near Downingtown West’s Jackson Luneburg during their District 1-6A semifinal on Friday, Nov. 16, 2018. (Gene Walsh/Digital First Media)

Shamar Edwards’s epic night in Downingtown led North Penn to the District 1-6A championship game.

It also showed why the Knights senior deserved to be the 2018 Reporter/Times Herald/Montgomery News Football Player of the Year.

Edwards compiled an phenomenal 318 yards on 29 carries, scoring three rushing touchdowns — all in the second half — hustled to enable Kaleem Corbin’s momentum-flipping interception and also collected the clinching pick himself in a 35-21 district semifinal victory over Downingtown West.

“Shemar’s a monster,” said North Penn coach Dick Beck after the game. “Not just offensively…. I mean, defensively, he’s the one who punched the ball out and he ends the game with the interception. Look, he’s really special.”

That was demonstrated not only at West’s Kottmeyer Stadium, but throughout the 2018 season. Edwards led the Knights in rushing and was one of the standouts on a defensive unit that allowed 18.6 points per game as North Penn posted a 13-1 record, won their third straight outright Suburban One League Continental Conference title and reached the District 1-6A final for the second time in three seasons.

North Penn’s Shamar Edwards (8) carries the ball against Neshaminy during the game on Friday, Aug. 24, 2018. (John Blaine/For Digital First Media)

Edwards finished the years with 1,751 yards, averaging 134.7 yards per game and led orth tied for the team-high in rushing in all 13 games he played in. An SOL Continental first-team selection at running back, Edwards paced the Knights with 15 touchdowns on offense — tying his backfield mate Julian White for tops with 14 rushing TDs.

Edwards collected more than 100 yards rushing eight times during the season, including three times in the district postseason as he stepped his game up in the playoffs — increasing his yards per game output from 125.2 in the regular season to 156.0 in districts.

He began districts rushing for 109 yards on 23 carries in the 26-16 first-round victory over Ridley Nov. 2. Also in the win, Edwards caught his lone touchdown reception of 2018 — hauling in a 62-yard strike from quarterback Solomon Robinson to put NP up 7-0 in the first quarter. Edwards then sealed the win with a late interception after Ridley recovered an onside kick.

In the district second round, Edwards paced the Knights with 78 yards on 15 carries as NP topped Neshaminy for the second time in the season, holding off the Redskins 13-6. Edwards followed that up with his extraordinary performance in the district semifinals, as the top-seeded Knights had to play on Downingtown West’s home field after snow the previous day forced a site change.

With North Penn trailing the Whippets 21-14 in the third quarter, Edwards began the play the flipped the contest — punching the ball out of the West receiver’s hands in the end zone, which allowed Kaleem Corbin to making a toe-tapping interception for a touchback. The pick almost did not happen, as Edwards lost his footing for a moment before hustling to break up the completion.

“When he started running his route, I fell,” said Edwards after the game. “I jumped up, I saw the ball in the air, I broke it up. I saw Kaleem pick it off and I just went crazy. I knew we was getting the ball back so we had to go down the field and drive.”

North Penn’s Shamar Edwards runs for a touchdown during the first half of the Knights’ game against Pennridge on Friday, Sept. 14, 2018. (Debby High/For Digital First Media)

On the ensuing drive, Edwards broke away for a 58-yard touchdown run as North Penn pulled even. He then found the end zone twice more in the fourth on runs of four and 39 yards. Edwards’ interception — the Knights’ fourth of the game — cements North Penn’s 13th victory and sent them back to the district final for the first time since 2016.

“It felt great to seal the game,” said Edwards after the win.. “Actually wanted to run it back, but I was like let me just take a knee and get the game over with.”

Edwards recorded his first 100-yard rushing game in Week 3 against Pennsbury, helping the Knights post a season-high 413 yards on the ground on NP’s turf field. Coming back from missing the previous week’s win over La Salle due to injury, Edwards compiled 189 yards on 18 carries, scoring the Knights’ final two touchdowns on runs from 33 and 49 yards out in a 33-7 victory over the Falcons.

Edwards went for over 100 yards the next two weeks — finding the end zone on runs of 56 and 10 yards and finishing with 116 yards on 16 carries in a 42-20 Week 4 win over Pennridge then running for a 162 yards and a TD on 20 carries as NP bested Central Bucks East 31-21 in Week 5.

Edwards scored a pair of rushing TDs as North Penn rallied from a 20-14 halftime deficit in Week 7 against Souderton to beat the Indians 29-27. In Week 8, Edwards had 116 yards on 19 carries in a 20-6 win. Two weeks later, Edwards opened the scoring against William Tennent with a 70-yard interception return in the first quarter. He added touchdowns runs of 77 and 18 yards in the second quarter as the Knights cruised to a 56-14 win, finishing a regular season 10-0 for the fifth time under Beck.

2018 Reporter/Times Herald/Montgomery News All-Area Football Teams
FIRST TEAM
Offense
QB: Mike Slivka (Upper Dublin)
RB: Shamar Edwards (North Penn)
RB: Tom Santiago (Archbishop Wood)
OL: Jake Walton (North Penn)
OL: Zack Tarburton (Pennridge)
OL: Luke Stengel (Archbishop Wood)
OL: Quentin Derr (Upper Dublin)
OL: Connor Bishop (Archbishop Wood)
WR: Jonathan Post (Pennridge)
WR: Steve Skarbek (Pope John Paul II)
TE: Brody Balasa (Upper Dublin)
K: William Leyland (Souderton)
Defense
DL: Julian White (North Penn)
DL: Elijah Wroten (Germantown Academy)
DL: Ryan Savage (La Salle)
DL: RJ Macnamara (North Penn)
LB: Shane Hartzell Pennridge
LB: Dillon Trainer (La Salle)
LB: Nate Brown (North Penn)
DB: Jon Haynes (North Penn)
DB: Zaire McLaurin (La Salle)
DB: Andrew Vince (Souderton)
DB: Selvin Haynes (Upper Dublin)
P: Justin Grady (Cheltenham)

SECOND TEAM
Offense
QB: Ryan Engro (Spring-Ford)
RB: Caleb Mead (Upper Moreland)
RB: Jon-Luke Peaker (Bishop McDevitt)
OL: Austin Moyer (Souderton)
OL: Ryan Wills (La Salle)
OL: Jake Schalki (Hatboro-Horsham)
OL: Matt Brulenski (Lansdale Catholic)
OL: Andrew Metro (Bishop McDevitt)
WR: Dante Bonanni (Spring-Ford)
WR: Glenn Sabb II (Academy New Church)
TE: Luke Benson (Central Bucks West)
K: Jake Gandolfo (La Salle)
Defense
DL: Noah Fox (North Penn)
DL: Tonee Ellis (Methacton)
DL: Austin Bishop (Pennridge)
DL: Marcus Winfield (Cheltenham)
LB: Richard Cotton (Bishop McDevitt)
LB: Mark Picariello (Upper Merion)
LB: Ryan Hieber (Central Bucks West)
DB: Caleb Mead (Upper Moreland)
DB: Taiyan Lobban (Upper Merion)
DB: Joe Wade (Archbishop Wood)
DB: Austin Rowley (Perkiomen Valley)
P: Reece Gibbs (Abington)

HONORABLE MENTION
Offense

QB: Kamal Gray (Pope John Paul II); Lonnie Rice (Bishop McDevitt); Cole Peterlin Perkiomen Valley).
RB: Devin Bryant (Academy New Church); Danny Dutkiewicz (Lansdale Catholic); Caleb Mead (Manny Quiles (La Salle); Zaire Savage (Upper Merion); Trae Vance (Germantown Academy);DeAndre Wakefield (Souderton).
WR: Koran Butler (Archbishop Carroll); Isaiah Domine (Perkiomen Valley); Johnson John (Jenkintown); Forrest Keys (Lower Moreland); Christian Thomas (Norristown); Maurice Willis (Wissahickon).
TE: Will Felix (Cheltenham); Tom Lukens (Abington); Ryan Savage (William Tennent).
OL: T.J. Allen (Abington); Noah Boast (North Penn); Sean Cotton (Central Bucks West); Cade Lafferty (Jenkintown); Brian Lafty (Pennridge); Ryan McKenna (Central Bucks West); Leland Mersky (La Salle); Declan Tuffy (La Salle).
K: Chris Barbera (Upper Dublin); Ayoub Cherradi (North Penn).
Defense
DL: Connor Bishop (Archbishop Wood); Jordan Collazo (Hatboro-Horsham); Tyrone Fowler (Bishop McDevitt); Nate Orkfritz-Robinson (Spring-Ford); Jacob Sterling (Perkiomen Valley).
LB: Brody Balasa (Upper Dublin) Erik Laughlin (North Penn); Hunter Ricci (Perkiomen Valley); Tre Samuels (Souderton); Dai-Jahn Dukes (Upper Moreland).
DB: Cooper Chaikin (Pennridge); Joe Fay (Central Bucks West); Lateef Harris (Cheltenham); Mike Slivka (Upper Dublin); Zay Scott (Bishop McDevitt).
P: Austin Alcorn (Bishop McDevitt); Shane Hartzell (Pennridge).

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