Knights, Hawks collide in battle of top-5 teams

North Penn running back Kyle Mayfield has rushed for 233 yards and two touchdowns on 43 carries for the 1-1 Knights.
North Penn running back Kyle Mayfield has rushed for 233 yards and two touchdowns on 43 carries for the 1-1 Knights. (RON CORTES / Staff Photographer)

North Penn is coming off a win at Archbishop Wood. St. Joe's Prep is unbeaten at 2-0.

Posted: September 14, 2012

St. Joseph's Prep and North Penn enter Friday night's nonleague meeting with a spring in their steps.

The Hawks (2-0) arrive for the 7:30 p.m. clash at North Penn's Crawford Stadium with victories over two out-of-state foes. The Knights (1-1) are fresh off snapping Archbishop Wood's 15-game win streak.

The Prep topped Cocoa (Fla.), 16-7, and Gonzaga (D.C.), 28-14, in the first two weeks. North Penn, rebounding from a Week 1 loss to La Salle, scored 24 unanswered points en route to a 24-10 triumph over Wood.

Here is a closer look at the Prep-North Penn clash.

Ranking. The Hawks are ranked No. 5 in Southeastern Pennsylvania by The Inquirer; the Knights are No. 3.

History. North Penn holds a 5-2 advantage in the head-to-head series. Last year, with Skyler Mornhinweg throwing for 342 yards and running for 153, the host Hawks prevailed, 51-33.

Key loss. North Penn senior Connor Lawn, a 5-foot-10, 220-pound fixture at offensive guard, suffered a broken fibula in the second quarter against Wood. Also a part-time defensive tackle, he underwent surgery earlier this week.

"His loss is devastating to us, not only as a player but as a team leader," Knights coach Dick Beck said. Derek Brandt, a force at defensive tackle, replaces Lawn.

Also sidelined. Prep senior running back Joe Lavalle is out with a broken leg suffered during training camp.

Depth chart. North Penn junior fullback Luke Berry returns from an ankle injury. Teammate Joe Potkovac, a senior center who has yet to play because of a foot injury, is probable.

Go-to guy. North Penn's Kyle Mayfield, a senior tailback, has carried 43 times for 233 yards and two touchdowns. Help comes from Berry and do-everything senior Steve Gozur (11 carries for 55 yards vs. Wood).

Mixing it up. The Hawks spread the ball among three halfbacks: junior Vince Moffett and sophomores Olamide Zaccheaus and John Reid. Junior quarterback Chris Martin is another threat.

Stalwarts. The Knights' top run-stuffers are tackles Brandt and Khalil Littlejohn, rover Gozur, and ends George Shipp, Ray Kulp, and Jesse Cook.

Familiar name. Jon Daniel Runyon, a 6-3, 230-pound sophomore, starts at right tackle for the Prep. His father played the same position for the Eagles.

Patrolling the middle. North Penn's linebacking corps includes Nick Wright, Bobby McDonald, and Bob Bull.

Stout group. The Hawks' defensive headliners are tackle Paul Johnson, ends James Mooney and Shane Williams, linebackers Todd Jones and Tim Rafter, strong safety Dan Sherry, and cornerback Reid.

Analysis. This is a step up in competition for the Prep. We expect Mayfield to find the edge for two or three scores, and maybe a breakthrough game for Knights junior QB Austin Shearer.

Pick. North Penn, 28-13.


Contact Rick O'Brien at robrien@phillynews.com,

or follow on Twitter @ozoneinq.

Read his blog, "The O'Zone,"

at www.philly.com/ozone

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