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North Penn could be explosive in 2020

North Penn's Khalani Eaton (40) stiff arms La Salle's Tyler Meachum (23) in a hard run Friday night at North Penn High School. He's a key returner for NP in 2020. (James Beaver/For MediaNews Group)

TOWAMENCIN >> The North Penn football team is busy at work, as bulldozers rumble in the background.

“It’s weird hearing the construction,” senior D.J. Fisher says, smiling, speaking of NP’s new stadium that should be ready by the spring, “but we’re thankful to be out on the field, to be honest.”

The Knights have pulled together through the pandemic, and focus in on their Week One showdown at Neshaminy.

There’s plenty of excitement on the NP practice field, a lot having to do with what they’ve constructed on the offensive side of the football.

“That really should make us explosive,” Knights coach Dick Beck said. “I think our experience is mostly on the o-line and at running back. I like our quarterback. Ryan Zeltt’s really starting to develop – he’s only a sophomore but we’re hoping he can build on his freshman year.

“I think we have a couple receivers that could be dangerous and we could be pretty balanced on offense.”

Of training through the pandemic, Beck said: “We’re dealing with it as best we can but for the most part, it’s been great. The kids have been super responsible and working very hard, and I’m very happy with the team.”

The Knights, District One Champions seven times under Beck, know the way up front.

A line that includes 300-pound right tackle Darren Miller, right guard Cam McQueen and left guard John Derkits looks to break open holes for running back Khalani Eaton.

Defensively, the Knights are also tough along the front line.

“I think our strength is up front,” Beck said. “Malik Stanton, John Derkits, Cam McQueen, D.J. Fisher, Ethan Spann at outside linebacker and Jalen Edwards at safety – we have some experience on defense. We have a couple corners that are first-year starters but I really like their athletic ability and their speed. I think they’re gonna be pretty strong for us.”

NP also welcomes back Dakari Luby in the return game.

“He was out with a knee injury last year but we’re hoping he can return to the explosiveness he showed as a sophomore,” Beck said.

Fisher helps anchor the ‘D’ at middle linebacker.

“I like our defense so far. We have a good game plan for Neshaminy and we’re prepping for it,” Fisher said. “We’re super excited. We know we have a good team coming back. We’ve been training and it’s been kind of hard because of the pandemic. But we’re thankful to have a season.”

North Penn

Coach: Dick Beck (19th season).
Last Year’s Record: 8-4 overall (4-2 in the SOL Continental); lost to Downingtown West in the District 1-6A Quarterfinals.
Key Returners: Ryan Zeltt, QB, So. (6-2, 175); Khalani Eaton, RB, Jr. (5-10, 205); Darren Miller, RT, Jr. (6-0, 300); Cam McQueen, RG, Sr. (6-1, 250); John Derkits, LG, Sr. (6-0, 220).
Outlook for the season: The Knights aim for another league title, vying for an SOL National crown, and should be a team to watch in District 1-6A.

2020 Schedule
Friday, Oct. 2 at Neshaminy, 7 p.m.
Friday, Oct. 9 vs. Pennsbury, 7 p.m.
Friday, Oct. 16 vs. Central Bucks West, 7 p.m.
Saturday, Oct. 24 at Central Buks East, 1 p.m.
Friday, Oct. 30 vs. Central Bucks South, 7 p.m.

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