TOWAMENCIN >> Ryan Zeltt had one expectation going into his freshman year at North Penn.
“I thought this would be a learning season, you know, just behind a great quarterback in Kolby (Barrow),” he said. “Unfortunately he went down.”
Having to step into the Knights starting quarterback role, opposing teams are finding out that Zeltt is a quick study. Friday night at Crawford Stadium, Zeltt threw for 196 yards and three touchdowns in the first half as the North Penn routed Council Rock South 36-0 in their SOL nonconference matchup.
“This is what, game four for him — he’s no longer a freshman,” Knights coach Dick Beck said. “He’s a very good player and he’s got a great arm and he’s just going to keep getting better, no doubt.”
Sophomore Khalani Eaton complimented Zeltt’s passing with 132 yards and two touchdowns on 12 carries as the Knights (5-1, 2-0 SOL Continental) put up points on all six of its offensive possessions before halftime — scoring touchdowns on their first five drives — in cruising past the winless Golden Hawks (0-6, 0-2 SOL National) for a fourth consecutive win.
“I thought Ryan Zeltt really showed a lot of talent tonight, threw some fantastic balls to open receivers,” Beck said. “Kenny (Grandy) obviously can catch the ball and got open. I though the o-line when we were running really blocked well and Khalani’s really getting a feel for that zone backdoor cut and I thought he was pretty good.”
North Penn needed just three plays to take a 7-0 lead. Eaton dashed for 47 yards on the game’s opening snap. Zeltt connected with Nate Brown for 17 yards then hit RJ Macnamara for a 7-yard touchdown pass at 10:50 in the first quarter.
“First of all the o-line did amazing,” Zeltt said. “Had time in the pocket to throw the ball. My receivers catching the ball, some of them were unaccurate throws but they came down with it.”
— Mike Cabrey (@mpcabrey) September 28, 2019
Zeltt completed his first five passes and finished 11-of-16 — starting 11-of-13 before a spike followed by two incompletions on a series that ended with Daniel Moon’s 27-yard field goal with 17.9 seconds left before the break, the kick make it 36-0 and enacting the 35-point mercy rule in the second half.
Two of Zeltt’s touchdown pass went to Grandy, who caught six passes for 119 yards.
“Kenneth is a great receiver,” Zeltt said. “He comes down with those unaccurate balls like I was saying before. He’s a great one to throw it to.”
Zeltt found Grandy three times on the Knights’ second touchdown drive — an eight-play, 60-yard series capped by Grandy snagging a 15-yard TD pass in the end zone on 3rd-and-11 to make it 13-0 at 4:53 in the opening quarter.
Eaton gave the Knights a 19-0 lead at 10:40 in the second quarter when he found open space to his left after getting through the line then outraced South to the end zone for a 19-yard touchdown.
Zeltt hooked up with Grandy for a TD a second time at 5:30 as the freshman QB aired it out down the middle and Grandy hauled it in for a 38-yard score. A Zeltt to Macnamara two-point conversion had NP up 27-0.
“I saw Kenneth getting open and I threw that one up cause I knew he was going to come down with it,” Zeltt said.
Macnamara’s 28-yard catch set up Easton’s second rushing TD — this one from two yards out with 1:52 left in the half to make it 33-0.
Jalen Edwards’ interception gave the Knights the ball at the South 22 in the half’s final minute. Grandy’s 13-yard catch put NP at the nine before the Knights settled for Moon’s 27-yard field goal.
“I think we’re getting a better feel of what we do the best on offense and we’re kind of sticking to that,” Beck said. “And I think defensively it’s going to be where we’re going to win and lose this whole thing.”
— Mike Cabrey (@mpcabrey) September 28, 2019
Knights Offense Back on Track
North Penn began the season posting 55 points in win over Neshaminy but had trouble the next two weeks — a 42-6 loss to La Salle then beating Pennsbury 13-3 in Zeltt’s first start. The last three weeks has seen the Knights offense regain its footing, averaging 40.7 points during that span.
“I always say it comes down to the guys up front,” Beck said. “I think our fullbacks and tight ends and our o-line, they’re really coming together and that’s what we’re going to lean on. And obviously Ryan’s maturing each game and getting better and man he threw some really nice balls tonight.”
The Knights compiled a total of 444 yards on offense, 332 of that coming before halftime.
“The o-line’s just picking it up,” Macnamara said. “They’re working really hard at practice, it shows on the field. They know what happened against La Salle and what was starting to happen against Pennsbury and they just have worked nonstop to get better.
Grounding the Hawks
The win improved North Penn to 4-0 all-time against Council Rock South while the shutout was first for the Knights since Week 3 of the 2016 season when they blanked Pennsbury 38-0.
“That’s always great to see and I love that the two’s did their job and made sure they kept that for us,” Macnamara said.
The Hawks had just 104 yards of offense — 96 coming on the ground. Sophomore Brady Beres finished with 55 yards on 11 carries.
With CR South trailing 13-0 in the first quarter, Beres ran for 40 yards on a 3rd-and-12 to put the Hawks on the NP 28. Dawson Fresses followed with a 7-yard run but the drive ended with back-to-back runs of negative yards and an incompletions on fourth down.
South made a foray into North Penn territory in the second quarter but on a 4th-and-2 from the Knights 40 the Hawks were stuffed for a 1-yard loss. Three plays later, North Penn expanded its lead to 27-0.
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