North Penn battles La Salle once again in season opener

For the sixth straight season, North Penn and La Salle open the season against each other, as two of the premier football programs in the state do battle under the lights Friday in a non-league contest at Crawford Stadium.

Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.

The Knights are coming off a season in which they earned their 12th trip to the playoffs in 13 years, falling to West Chester Henderson in the first round of the District One Class AAAA Playoffs.

The Explorers are also coming off a trip to the postseason in 2014, having lost to arch rival and eventual state 4A champ St. Joseph’s Prep in the Philadelphia Catholic League playoffs.

Along with the familiar surroundings of Crawford Stadium, the Knights should feel right at home with an experienced ground attack.
NP returns its three leading rushers from a year ago, including Nyfease West, who verbally committed to Delaware State during the summer. West rushed for over 1,000 yards as a sophomore and a junior, leading the Knights ground game last fall with 1,011 yards and 13 touchdowns.

In addition to West, the Knights can also hand the ball to Nick Isabella and Justin Ostopowicz.

Under center for the Knights, it will be either senior Jake Bevan or junior Reece Udinski. Tight end Keith Earle, who verbally committed to Lafayette, and wide receiver Ricky Johns provide safe, dependable targets.

The Explorers, meanwhile, will have a new quarterback under center in Chris Ferguson, who replaces Kyle Shurmur (Vanderbilt).

Ferguson will be running La Salle’s multiple offense, under new head coach John Steinmetz and new offensive coordinator Ryan Doyle.

There are some new faces, but the offensive and defensive principles remain the same for La Salle. The Explorers will try to get the ball into the hands of two of their most explosive playmakers, Syaire Madden and Isaiah Jones, while Earle (defensive end) and the rest of the Knights defense aim to limit the production of the La Salle attack.

Lineman Anthony Piscopo along with defensive backs Nick Rinella and Charles Headen anchor the defense for La Salle.

In a matchup of two teams that determine success with how their season ends, it always seems that they’re starting things out against each other. The Explorers have taken the five previous season openers and are 6-1 against North Penn, but the Knights’ lone victory was a big one, a 21-14 victory in the 2011 Eastern Final.

Top Photo: Head coach Dick Beck speaks to players following a North Penn High School football practice on Monday, Aug. 17, 2015. (Geoff Patton/The Reporter)

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