|Ray Kulp, left, and North Penn bounced back from a Week 1 defeat to La Salle with a win over defending PIAA Class AAA champion Archbishop Wood over the weekend. (Photo by Mark C Psoras\The Reporter)|
TOWAMENCIN — It’s hard to imagine anyone in District 1, or perhaps east of the Mississippi, playing a more demanding non-league schedule this year than North Penn.
The Knights opened with a 20-7 loss to Class AAAA’s No. 2 ranked La Salle, which won a state title, finished second and reached the semifinals in the school’s first three seasons as a member of the PIAA. Last weekend, they played — and beat — Class AAA’s No. 1 ranked Archbishop Wood, the defending AAA state champion.
This week, the Knights take on unbeaten and state-ranked St. Joseph’s Prep, which has already flown to Florida and beaten Cocoa and, before resuming a more normal routine, headed down to the nation’s capital to throttle Gonzaga.
So, whether or not North Penn kicks off its Suburban One Continental Conference in two weeks with a 2-1 or 1-2 overall record, rest assured the program is not down – as so many may have thought a few weeks ago, and the Knights look as though they’ll contend for yet another district and, perhaps, a state title.
“(Beating Archbishop Wood) was a nice win,” said head coach Dick Beck, who likely won’t have to remind the Knights they lost to St. Joseph’s Prep by a humbling 51-33 count a year ago. “We had so much respect for (Archbishop Wood’s) program, so it’s a good win for us.”
Call it a great win, because North Penn was down 10-0 and the Vikings were inside the hosts’ 10-yard line threatening to expand that lead right before halftime. But that’s when Steve Gozur pried the ball loose from a Viking running back and returned it 95 yards for a touchdown.
Archbishop Wood wouldn’t score again, but North Penn came out following the break and converted a field goal to tie it, then got a pair of touchdown runs from Kyle Mayfield to go ahead for good.
The comeback enabled North Penn to avoid its first 0-2 start in six years.
Brotherly Love: District 1 schools went 11-9 overall last weekend against Philadelphia Catholic (3-6) and Philadelphia Public (8-3) league opponents.
By Josh: Central Bucks South’s Josh Adams ran for 250 yards and scored six touchdowns in a 58-21 blowout of Council Rock North.
Rebound I: Strath Haven, which opened with the worst defeat in its storied history — a 68-12 setback to Imhotep Charter — regrouped last weekend with a 56-21 rout of Radnor.
Rebound II: Sun Valley, which coming into the season owned the district’s longest losing streak (12 in a row), promptly ended it by defeating Lower Merion, 46-14, in its opener. The Vanguards then made it two straight wins last weekend by knocking off Chester, 33-14.
Another state champ falls: Defending Class AAAA champion and No. 1 ranked Central Dauphin was also beaten last weekend, 24-7 by Bishop McDevitt —which won the AA state title last year but has moved up a bracket this year. CD was without a pair of dynamic two-way starters, which no one had an explanation for, in the 50th meeting between the District 3 rivals.
Rank and file: While every one of the state’s Class AA and Class A teams in the Top 10 rankings won, that wasn’t the case for the two bigger school brackets. …In AAAA, in addition to No. 1 Central Dauphin falling, No. 8 Wilson was upset 35-28 by Harrisburg. And in AAA, in addition to No. 1 Archbishop Wood falling, No. 3 Central Valley lost a 28-27 overtime thriller to No. 6 Montour in a District 7 showdown.
Almost: Chartiers-Houston, which nearly ended Clairton’s national-high winning streak two weeks ago, could only manage a pair of safeties in a 10-4 loss to state-ranked Bishop Canevin last weekend.
Two-for-two: Former Pottstown head coach Mike Melynk picked up his first win at Mount Lebanon by beating Bethel Park, 17-7. And former Boyertown head coach Ron Zeiber celebrated a huge 17-14 upset of Manheim Central, getting both of his touchdowns on a pair of punt returns (84 and 63 yards) by Joey DeFloria.
Big numbers: District 10’s Warren gets the weekly honor following the Dragons’ 83-12 rout of District 9 rival Limestone. … Germantown Academy lost its opener to Emmaus, 40-0, but reversed that count and more last weekend with a 65-0 rout of Edison. … District 6’s Ligonier Valley debuted with a 47-0 shutout of Purchase Line, then added a 63-0 blanking of United last week. … Cedar Cliff gets an unsportsmanlike call in its 69-21 romp over South Western. Up 48-0 at the half, the hosts led 57-21 through 4:50 of the third quarter when starter Andrew Ford threw his fifth touchdown pass. Ford completed 19 of 24 for 319 yards and also ran for a sixth score.
Bigger numbers: Danville’s Cale Rice picked off four passes in a 20-6 win over Loyalsock. … Imani Christian’s defense scored once (50-yard fumble return) and its special teams added two touchdowns (kickoff and punt returns) in a 57-0 shutout of Serra Catholic. … Clairton got its 49th straight win as Tyler Boyd scored five touchdowns in a 50-7 clipping of Carolynton.
Coal region recap: Bethlehem’s three schools (Catholic, Freedom and Liberty) are currently 1-5, the same as Allentown’s three schools (Allen, Central Catholic and Dieruff) … so for now, at least, it’s all even between the two cities’ programs.
What a kick: Kutztown’s Maxwell Randolph boomed a 51-yard field goal, but it was his team’s lone points in a 13-3 loss to Pequea Valley — the team that came up with 10 turnovers in destroying York Tech in Week One.
Familiar name: Bellevue (Wash.), which got to the final day of the American Legion Baseball World Series last month, is among the Top 10 in two national rankings.