TOWAMENCIN >> For North Penn’s Khalani Eaton, running around defenders seems anti-climactic.
Running through them is more his style.
“Sometimes, I like the contact. I like how that feels sometimes,” Eaton said with a smile after Friday night’s contest with Pennsbury.
Rumbling for 249 yards and three touchdowns, Eaton helped lead the way to a 44-20 Knights victory in a Suburban One League National Conference contest on the turf at North Penn.
“My line did a great job opening the holes,” said Eaton, who added another score on a reception. “They gave me great lanes.”
Eaton’s power running, along with a weaving, 68-yard punt return for a score by Levi Carroll, were part of a 35-point first half for North Penn (1-1).
The Knights scored on all four of their first-half possessions in racing to a 35-7 lead.
“We felt the momentum,” Eaton said.
Fast start >> North Penn swiftly moved the ball 63 yards in five plays to go up 7-0 on its first series.
A nine-yard run through the left side by Eaton provided the first flicker of the scoreboard.
After a Pennsbury (0-2) punt, the North Penn offense was back in motion. This time, the Knights needed just four plays, scoring on a 23-yard connection from Ryan Zeltt to Eaton, doubling the lead to 14-0.
The Falcons dented the scoreboard late in the first quarter, using a methodical, 10-play drive, capped off by quarterback Patrick Kirk’s 20-yard run, to make it 14-7.
But then came the Knights’ most dominant stretch of the evening.
Eaton broke a tackle to burst into the end zone on 4th-and-2, Carroll broke free on his punt return, and a three-yard touchdown run by Ethan Spann made it 35-7 North Penn.
Eaton felt right at home on the turf field, which is being used as Crawford Stadium goes through its renovation.
“We usually play on the grass but on the turf, I can make my cuts more efficiently,” Eaton said.
Putting it away >> The Falcons put together two more long marches – 13 plays and 17 plays – to trim the margin to 35-20.
The Falcons scored on the final play of the first half, on a two-yard pass from Kirk to C.J. Kohler, then crept closer in the third on an eight-yard Kirk-to-Kohler connection.
That’s as close as it got.
North Penn took over at its own 20 early in the fourth and turned out the lights. Four punishing runs by Eaton, including one in which he sprinted away to a 38-yard score, widened the gap to 42-20.
North Penn’s defense finished out strong, surrounding Kirk in the end zone (he was flagged for intentional grounding) to come up with a safety and cap the scoring.
North Penn 44, Pennsbury 20
Pennsbury 7 7 6 0 – 20
North Penn 14 21 0 9 – 44
NP – Khalani Eaton 9 run (Grace Macnamara kick), 9:35.
NP – Eaton 23 pass from Ryan Zeltt (Macnamara kick), 6:38.
P – Patrick Kirk 20 run (Brady Burgfechtel kick), 2:37.
NP – Eaton 2 run (Macnamara kick), 9:44.
NP – Levi Carroll 68 punt return (Macnamara kick), 8:26.
NP – Ethan Spann 3 run (Macnamara kick), 3:05.
P – C.J. Kohler 2 pass from Kirk (Burgfechtel kick), :00.
P – Kohler 8 pass from Kirk (pass failed), 4:25.
NP – Eaton 38 run (Macnamara kick), 6:12.
NP – Safety (Kirk called for intentional grounding in end zone), 5:25.