North Penn bounces Coatesville

North Penn running back Luke Berry twists away from Coatesville's Stephen Pawling (on ground) in the second quarter.
North Penn running back Luke Berry twists away from Coatesville's Stephen Pawling (on ground) in the second quarter. (BRADLEY C. BOWER / For The Inquirer)
Posted: November 10, 2013

The play is aptly named "sneak attack."

In short down-and-distance situations, North Penn lines up as if it's going for a quarterback sneak, but the ball is directly snapped to a tailback. It then turns into a passing play, in which a Knights wideout usually catches the opposing defense off guard and ends up wide open on a play that North Penn coach Dick Beck said "works nine times out of 10."

For North Penn, in its first-round matchup of the District 1 Class AAAA playoffs at Coatesville on Friday night, "sneak attack" proved to be a game-changer.

The 11th-seeded Knights pulled off a convincing 31-0 upset of No. 6 Coatesville behind a strong rushing attack and what Beck called North Penn's "best defensive game of the season."

The Knights held the Red Raiders to 187 yards of offense and rushed for 247 yards of their own.

With a little more than two minutes left before halftime, North Penn used "sneak attack" to score a 30-yard touchdown. Senior running back Kris Akins took a direct snap and threw the second passing touchdown of his career to wide-open tight end Connor Gill.

The play gave North Penn a 10-0 lead and all the momentum entering halftime, and prompted one member of the Coatesville coaching staff to turn to another coach and say, "Have you ever seen a trick play like that?"

"It woke everybody up," Akins said.

The win was the eighth in a row for North Penn, which began the season 0-3 but went undefeated in league play and captured the Suburban One League Continental Conference championship. The Knights advance to play No. 3 Pennsbury in the quarterfinals.

The Knights' three losses came against St. Joseph's Prep, La Salle, and Archbishop Wood - ranked Nos. 3, 4 and 7, respectively, in Southeastern Pennsylvania by The Inquirer. Akins said North Penn's tough nonleague schedule only better prepares the Knights for the competition ahead.

For Coatesville, the loss was a dismal end to what was once a promising season. It was the Red Raiders' second straight loss without their leading rusher, senior running back Daquan Worley, who tore an anterior cruciate ligament against West Chester East on Oct. 25. Coatesville began the season 9-0 before Worley went down.

On a frigid night at Coatesville stadium, Red Raiders fans barely filled half the home stands. The stands were nearly empty after North Penn's last score. The scoreboard read 31-0, just above a banner celebrating Coatesville's 2012 district championship.

North Penn 3 7 14 7 – 31

Coatesville 0 0 0 0 – 0

NP: FG Matt Ammendola 44

NP: Connor Gill 30 pass from Kris Akins (Ammendola kick)

NP: Colby Beck 9 pass from Austin Shearer (Ammendola kick)

NP: Akins 4 run (Ammendola kick)

NP: Luke Berry 3 run (Ammendola kick)

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