TOWAMENCIN >> North Penn’s 37-14 victory over Pennridge in the Suburban One League Continental Conference opener was impressive, but the best may be yet to come.
“A work in progress,” said Khalani Eaton, after rumbling and dashing for 224 yards and four touchdowns.
“We’re into Game Four here, and I’m still getting a feel for what we do well,” Knights coach Dick Beck said, “what we don’t do well, what’s our niche.
“We still haven’t gotten that yet because we have an injury at quarterback, (wide receiver) Evan Spann didn’t play tonight, we’re going back and forth with different guys running the ball, so we’re trying to find the right guy.”
North Penn (3-1) overcame a sluggish start and found its beat in the second quarter.
“The line did really well. We started to get better at blocking and picking up the blitzes,” said Eaton, who had first-half scores of 16 and 38 yards.
Consistency is the key moving forward.
“I wish we were a little bit more consistent on the offensive line,” Beck said. “I feel like we’re not opening up the holes every time the way I like them.”
Eaton Breaks Free
Eaton’s fourth touchdown of the night was his longest, a 77-yard sprint into the night that sent the Knights to a 37-7 fourth-quarter lead.
In all, Eaton carried the ball 23 times and also plugged away for a six-yard score in the third quarter. Six times in the first half, the Rams were able to contain the elusive Eaton for little or no gain.
“I like when he gets those four- and five-yard gains,” Beck said. “I can understand you wanna break ‘em. We have to teach him how to get downhill. Sometimes he likes to bounce, bounce, bounce, and we want him getting north and south. When his shoulders are square, that’s where he’s most dangerous.”
The Knights currently have a freshman under center, but Ryan Zeltt had his moments.
“I’m happy with what he’s doing,” Beck said. “He threw some really nice balls. The two deep balls (were key) and the one on fourth down (a 35-yarder to Kevon White to set up a third-quarter TD) was a great pass.
“It was good that Kevon was able to track that down and catch it. That’s not the easiest thing to do.”
Zeltt completed eight of his 18 passes, finding five different receivers on the night for 175 yards.
The Knights added a 12-yard run by Kenneth Grandy and a 37-yard field goal by Daniel Moon that bounced its way over the crossbar.
The Knights, getting consistent pressure up front, had Pennridge shut out until midway through the third quarter.
“I was happy with us defensively,” Beck said. “I didn’t like that last touchdown but I think we had some problems lining up. But I thought, especially in the first half, we really tackled hard and beat blocks and it was a good effort from us.”
Rams Move Forward
Pennridge had the 9-yard run by Taj Utsey and a five-yard run by Brayden Landherr for its pair of scores.
The Rams (1-3), making some nice stops early, were down just 7-0 midway through the second until NP broke it open.
“It’s like deja vu almost,” Pennridge coach Cody Muller said. “Last year, we played them tough, up until the second quarter and then all of a sudden little things we didn’t take care of led to more and more.
“There are a lot of things we gotta clean up and correct, and figure out what we’re gonna be.”
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