North Penn ends Unionville's season with a 48-7 win
● By Richard Gaw
By Richard L. Gaw
Last Friday night in Unionville, the first-round District 1 Class AAAA playoff match-up between Unionville and North Penn -- much like the weather -- began with great expectations, but did not turn out as advertised.
The late fall evening seemed to offer the hope of seeing two teams, riding five-game winning streaks, playing in reasonable football-like temperatures in the low 50s. By the end of the game, however, a 48-7 blowout win by North Penn left the hometown fans, or at least the hearty souls who remained huddled against the whipping winds, realizing that Pat Clark's 8-2 team, the winners of the Ches-Mont American Division this season, were about to have their season end on their home field.
The Knights, the Suburban One National League champions and ranked 20th in the state in recent Maxpreps ratings, wasted little time in backing up their lofty position by jumping out to a quick 7-0 lead with a little more than six minutes remaining in the first quarter. Following an incomplete pass by Indians・ quarterback Brendan Boyle, Unionville was forced to punt at its own 21-yard line. Punter Pat Clark, Jr., received a poor snap and was promptly tackled at his own 8-yard line, and after a pass to running back Nyfease West moved the ball to the 7-yard line, North Penn quarterback Reece Udinski handed off to running back Justin Ostopowicz for a 7-yard score.
If there was a silver lining in a relatively large cloud for Unionville, it was that the Ostopowicz touchdown served as the only points the Indian defense gave up in the first quarter, but the floodgates opened to a 28-7 North Penn lead by the end of the first half. On just the second play from scrimmage of the second quarter, Nick Isabella scored the first of his three touchdowns on a 9-yard rush up the middle with just 35 seconds gone in the quarter. With under five minutes remaining in the first half, North Penn inherited the ball on their own 12-yard line, and on its first play, West carried the ball for a 47-yard scamper up the far sideline, into Unionville territory. After passes to West and Ostopowicz and a hand-off to West got the ball to the one-yard line, Isabella scored his second TD of the evening with a short plunge over the middle with 3:57 left in the half.
Down 20-0, a stifled Unionville offense received its only kickstart of the game late in the first half when, after a timeout, Boyle threw a perfect, 37-yard strike to Boon in the end zone with just 26.6 seconds left that eluded eight North Penn players positioned in the defensive backfield to prevent a long pass. Now down 20-7, the momentum had clearly shifted toward Unionville as both teams were about to head into the locker room, but on the ensuing kick-off, returner Justis Henley blew through the line for a 56-yard return, getting the ball to the Indians' 24-yard line. On the first play from scrimmage, Udinski hit wide receiver Ricky Johns for a 24-yard TD strike with just 8.5 seconds left in the half which, after a two-point possession, gave North Penn a commanding lead heading into the second half.
Just as they had done effectively in the first half, North Penn relied on a series of interchangeable parts on offense in the second half, highlighted by playmakers West, Ostopowicz and Isabella and topped off with the appearance of a few new names. Ostopowicz returned the second-half kickoff to midfield, and followed up by hauling in a 15-yard pass to move the ball to the Unionville 35-yard line. A 12-yard carry by West moved the chains to the 23-yard line and, with 9:55 left in the third quarter, Isabella ran 23 yards untouched for his third touchdown to give the Knights a 35-7 lead.
A two-yard run by Dontae Stewart early in the fourth quarter, followed by a 38-yard run by Tyler Gillet with 10:42 remaining in the game, rounded out the North Penn scoring. For the Knights, West racked up 114 yards on 14 carries, while Isabella was right behind with 102 yards on 12 carries, and Udinski threw for 128 yards on 10 for 15 passing. For the Indians, Brendan Boon finished his high school career with 64 yards on eight carries, while Brendan Boyle completed his Unionville career with 77 yards in passing.
With a record of 9-2, North Penn will face off in the District 1 Class AAAA playoff quarterfinals against top-seeded Downingtown East on Nov. 20.
To contact Staff Writer Richard L. Gaw, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.