North Penn has the winning combination against Pennridge

EAST ROCKHILL >> “Izzy” down the sideline and Johns to the post.

Two plays, two scores, too much for Pennridge to overcome. North Penn’s back-to-back touchdowns in the second quarter provided the Knights a comfortable lead and sent them on their way to a commanding 31-7 win over Pennridge in the Suburban One League National Conference opener for both teams.

“It feels good. It feels very good,” wide receiver Ricky Johns said of the victory, earned in front of a spirited, packed house at Helman Field. “We came out here, played hard. Pennridge is a good team but we came out here and did what we do best.”

North Penn rushed for 261 yards, quarterback Reece Udinski and Johns connected five times for substantial gains, and the Knights played solid defense all around and even threw in a blocked punt to take hold of a game they had to have.

“We said ‘the season starts now,'” North Penn coach Dick Beck said. “We said we’re gonna start by winning the games in the league. The non-league games – we want to win every game, but we’re really concentrating on winning the league. And when you win our league, you usually do pretty well in the playoffs.”

The Knights (2-2 overall, 1-0 SOL National) head into the midway point of the season with plenty of steam, thanks to a balanced performance Friday evening.

Leading 7-0, Nick Isabella bolted through a seam on the right side of the line and was off racing to a 55-yard score that doubled the NP advantage early in the second quarter.

After the Knights forced a punt, the North Penn offense was back on the field, but not for long. Udinski threw a 37-yard strike to Johns on a post route, providing a 21-0 cushion as NP’s grasp on this conference opener began to tighten.

“It was a good ball and one of our favorite plays,” Johns said. “It just opened up.”

Johns would go on to catch five passes for 93 yards while Nyfease West (68 yds, TD) and Isabella (96 yds, 2 TD) broke free on the ground.

“Nyfease and ‘Izzy’ ran hard,” Johns said. “And we played well defensively.”

The Knights allowed Pennridge (2-2, 0-1 SOL National) just two first downs in the second half, thwarting any chance of a comeback. The Rams did stop the Knights on a fake-punt attempt late in the first half, setting up a one-yard touchdown plunge by Judens Desrosiers to make it 21-7, but overall, NP held a solid Pennridge ground attack to just 90 yards on the night.

“North Penn came in here ready to play,” Rams coach Jeff Hollenbach said. “They’re really athletic. We couldn’t establish anything offensively, probably for the whole game. And that’s what’s most frustrating for me because I think we have people who can do it and I thought we had a good game plan to do it.

“We could never get our power plays or our trap plays going – (North Penn) was a step ahead of us. They play downhill really well.”

After the score by Desrosiers, the Knights got the ball with 54 seconds left in the half. That was enough time for Udinski to hit Johns for an 18-yard gain, setting up a line-drive, 38-yard field goal by Brett Bealer that gave NP a 24-7 lead at the break.

Udinski would hit Johns again in the second half on a 21-yard slant.

“We’re just trying to build it up,” Johns said of the connection. “The more yardage the better, each game.”

The only scoring of the second half was provided by Isabella’s 11-yard touchdown run on a draw play.

It was West who opened the scoring in the first quarter, scoring from 13 yards out after the Knights blocked a punt deep inside Pennridge territory.

“Spencer (Jones) came right through,” Beck said.


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