Pennsbury suffers 15th straight loss to North Penn

FAIRLESS HILLS >> Ever since the demise of the three-decade long Central Bucks West juggernaut, no public school football team in Southeastern Pennsylvania has done it better year in and year out than North Penn.

This was again on display in front of a big Homecoming crowd at Falcon Field Friday evening as North Penn beat Pennsbury, 27-20, to move into a commanding position to gain at least a share of the Suburban One National League championship.

Three-time defending SONL champion Pennsbury (6-2) battled to the end in a game that ended with a Hail Mary pass into the end zone, but at no time did it really look like it was going to defeat the Knights (6-2).

With the victory, North Penn has now beaten Pennsbury a remarkable 15 times in a row with the last Falcon victory over the Lansdale team coming way back in 1996. North Penn set the tone right away with a game-starting 67-yard drive on 10 plays that was culminated by a 2-yard run by Division 1 running back recruit Nyfease West.

Midway through the second quarter Pennsbury took its only lead of the night when quarterback Mike Alley scored on a 32-yard keeper to complete a 74-yard drive on nine plays.

Pennsbury appeared to have the momentum at this point, but North Penn junior quarterback Reece Udinski had other ideas. Seemingly picking apart the Pennsbury defense at will, Udinski led the Knights on a 72-yard drive that ended with another short TD run by West.

The North Penn 14-8 lead might have been bigger at the half, but Pennsbury was then able to stop the Knights after they moved to the Falcon 15-yard line in the final minute. In that first half, Udinski shredded Pennsbury by completing 11 of 14 passes for 181 yards.

There were two big plays in the second half that ultimately doomed the Falcons. The first was on the opening kickoff that started with North Penn’s Spencer Jones throwing a lateral across nearly the entire width of the field to Justin Henley on a trick play.

Henley then raced down the right sideline deep into Pennsbury territory and the ball ended up at the 13-yard line following a horse collar penalty. On the very next play, Nick Isabella scored on a 14-yard run up the middle to increase the Knight lead to 21-8.

Pennsbury did reply with a long drive to the North Penn 25 but eventually stalled on downs. Later in the third quarter Pennsbury put together another long drive and eventually scored on a 1-yard plunge by fullback Chris Rupprecht early in the fourth quarter.

What followed was another backbreaker on a third-and-eight play in which Udinski hooked up with Jake Hubler on a 68-yard TD pass. North Penn clearly should have been called for a procedure penalty on the play, but there was also no getting around two missed tackles after the completion and the 259 passing yards it surrendered on the night.

Now trailing 27-14, once again Pennsbury used its Ground and Pound game to take it to the Knights before scoring on an 11-yard pass from Alley to Luke Snyder. This drive, however, consumed way too much time and left only 3:01 on the clock.

After an unsuccessful onsides kick, Pennsbury got the ball back with less than a minute remaining on a fourth-down sack of Udinski. Not enough time. The Falcons did get into North Penn territory, but two long Alley passes into the end zone came to naught and their frustration against North Penn had continued.

If it’s any consolation to Pennsbury, remember that last year it also lost to North Penn before rebounding to win the district. At this point it can only hope history will repeat itself.

North Penn 27, Pennsbury 20

(Oct. 23 at Pennsbury)

North Penn (6-2) 6 8 7 6 — 27

Pennsbury (6-2) 0 8 6 6  — 20

First Quarter

NP — West 2 run (kick failed)

Second Quarter

P — Alley 32 run (Rupprecht run)

NP — West 3 run (Thomas pass from Udinski)

Third Quarter

NP — Isabella 14 run (Macnamara kick)

P — Rupprecht 1 run (kick failed)

Fourth Quarter

NP — Huber 67 pass from Udinski (kick blocked)

P — Snyder 11 pass from Alley (run failed)

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