North Penn, Upper Dublin meet for District One Class AAAA title

North Penn aims for its seventh district title on Saturday, taking on an unbeaten Upper Dublin team that is vying for its first ever District One Class AAAA crown.

The two teams will square off on the turf at nearby Souderton Area High School. Kickoff is set for 12 noon.
When it comes to the district finals, the Knights have been a fixed star. NP makes its 10th district title game appearance, hoping to bring home the trophy for the first time since 2011.

Third-seeded Upper Dublin, meanwhile, is making its first finals appearance, on the strength of last week’s 24-14 win over Pennsbury.

Upper Dublin Ryan Stover throws a pass during the game against Garnet Valley.  Friday, November 13, 2015. Adrianna Hoff—The Times Herald.
Upper Dublin quarterback Ryan Stover throws a pass during the Cardinal’s District 1-AAAA first round game against Garnet Valley oin Friday, Nov. 13, 2015. (Adrianna Hoff—/The Times Herald)

The Cardinals (13-0) have racked up 104 points in their three postseason wins, with an offense directed by versatile Ryan Stover at quarterback. Stover threw for one touchdown and ran for another last week, as Upper Dublin avenged a 2014 district semifinal loss to Pennsbury.

The Cardinals have benefitted from a cohesive offensive line and balance on the attack — tailback Kaleif Lee is averaging nearly eight yards per carry and has scored 18 touchdowns on the season.

One of Stover’s favorite targets downfield has been tight end Jack Rapine, who is also a force at outside linebacker and one of the sack leaders on defense.

The No. 9 Knights (11-2) have scored an almost identical 103 points in their three playoff victories, including last week’s 28-7 triumph over arch rival Neshaminy.

North Penn has been moving the ball in waves, powered by the running of Nyfease West and made even more dangerous by the big-play capability of quarterback Reece Udinski.

Udinski has found many reliable targets to go to in the NP attack, including wide receivers Ricky Johns and Jake Hubler, as well as running backs Nick Isabella and Justin Ostopowciz, and tight end Keith Earle.

Earle has also been a rock along the defensive line and continues to get to the opposing quarterback. North Penn’s defense has surrendered just 28 points in the opening three rounds of the playoffs.

It is the first meeting between North Penn and Upper Dublin since 1996, when the Knights earned a 21-7 victory in the season finale. North Penn is 2-0 lifetime against the Cardinals, including a 37-6 win way back on Oct. 30, 1954.

The winner of this contest advances to next week’s eastern final, to take on the winner of the La Salle and Parkland matchup, who play 1 p.m. Saturday at Northeast High School in Philadelphia.

District One Class AAAA Final
Time/Place: Saturday, 12 p.m., at Souderton Area High School.
On the Air: The game will be broadcast live on the radio on 1440 AM and live on the internet at
On Twitter: @khunter10 and @mpcabrey.
Records: The No. 9 Knights are 11-2 overall and finished 7-0 in the Suburban One League National Conference. No. 3 Upper Dublin is 13-0 overall and finished 7-0 in the SOL American.
What’s at Stake: A spot in next week’s Eastern Final, against the winner of the Parkland-La Salle matchup.
Last Week: The Knights toppled archrival Neshaminy, 28-7, while Upper Dublin was a 24-14 winner over Pennsbury.
Last Meeting: The Knights defeated the Cardinals 21-7 back in the season finale of 1996.
Players to Watch: Nyfease West has had back-to-back 200-yard rushing performances for the Knights, and is complemented through the air by quarterback Reece Udinski. Upper Dublin quarterback Ryan Stover gets it done with his arm and his legs, and also has tailback Kaleif Lee to hand the ball to.
Prediction: North Penn 28, Upper Dublin 20.

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