In losing to the Knights on Friday, Neshaminy (1-6 overall, 1-5 league) squandered the 14-0 advantage it had enjoyed early in the second quarter and allowed the visitors three unanswered touchdowns.
With 3 minutes, 10 seconds remaining in regulation, North Penn (3-3, 3-3) silenced the crowd at Harry E. Franks Stadium when senior quarterback Carmen Iannelli bolted four yards around right end for the game-winning score.
On the fourth play of the game, junior quarterback Careem Hunte ignited Neshaminy's wishbone attack with a 20-yard touchdown run. Early in the second quarter, junior halfback Tim Smith (174 yards on seven carries) burned the North Penn defense with an 80-yard TD jaunt.
If not for a special-teams blunder by the Redskins, the Knights would have been scoreless at halftime. A high snap to punter Tom McFadden (he was tackled by Russell Bendler for a 22-yard loss) set the stage for an 11-yard touchdown pass from Iannelli (9 for 15 passing for 101 yards) to senior tight end Jim Sparenga.
"Call it a lucky break, but we capitalized on it," said North Penn's first-year coach, Joe Shannon.
The momentum clearly shifted by midway through the third quarter. On fourth and 1, Iannelli again froze the defense with a fake handoff to sophomore tailback Harold Padgett (88 yards on 25 carries) and escaped down the right sideline for a 57-yard gain to the Neshaminy 6. Three plays later, he notched the game-tying touchdown on a one-yard sneak.
"I figured the corner would suck in on it, and he did," Shannon said of Iannelli's 57-yard pickup. "It worked out very well."
Shannon left himself open to some second-guessing when, in the fourth quarter, he removed three go-ahead points (Mike Morelli had booted a 31-yard field goal at 6:20) from the scoreboard and instead accepted a roughing-the- kicker penalty and a first down at the Neshaminy 8. The decision backfired when Padgett fumbled at the 2 and the Redskins recovered.
"The team comes first in that situation," said Morelli. "Coach Shannon saw a good opportunity for seven points and he had to take it. He showed confidence in our offense when he made that decision."
The Knights subsequently thwarted three straight rushing attempts by Hunte. After regaining possession deep in Neshaminy territory, they capped the rally two plays later with Iannelli's four-yard keeper.
The Redskins were penalized 10 times for 87 yards. A potential third- quarter scoring drive (the hosts were five yards shy of the end zone) was negated when Hunte (16 carries for 73 yards) was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct.