Spann and Knights defense leads them past Redskins


Prasham Jobanputra

QB Solomon Robinson hands the ball off to RB Shamar Edwards

Wissahickon- After a couple miscues and mistakes from their team’s offense, North Penn fans prayed for a defensive stop and got much more than that from junior Evan Spann in a nail-biting game.

Because of the rain, the district quarterfinals game between the North Penn Knights (12-0) and Neshaminy Redskins (8-4) was moved to the turf field at Wissahickon High School.  The Knights managed to come away a 13-6 win over the Redskins and the Knights will move on to the district semifinals next week.

The Redskins marched down the field in the game’s opening drive and ended up taking a field goal attempt.  However, Jack Hughes’s attempt was no good and kept the game at 0-0.  The Redskins would get back in the red zone and this time got a touchdown on senior Oleh Manzyk’s 4-yard touchdown run (7.1 seconds left in 1st quarter).  The PAT was blocked by sophomore Dakari Luby to keep the game at 6-0 in favor of Neshaminy.  For the offense on the other sideline, the Knights had some early struggles as they had three and outs on their first two offensive possessions.

“It was wet game, hard nose, can’t really throw the ball that much in the wind and rain, so it was a ground and pound game and we just came on top,” senior QB Solomon Robinson said.

The Knights found their groove eventually when they put together a nice drive and finished it off with an 8-yard rushing touchdown from senior Robinson (6:05 left in second quarter).  The PAT from senior Ayoub Cherradi was good and put the Knights up 7-6.

“I feel like I had a pretty solid game.  I had a couple mental errors here and there but you straighten that out and you’ll be fine,” Robinson said on his performance.

Redskins’ senior Connor Moss came up with an interception on the North Penn side of the field to setup the Skins with a possible scoring chance with 1:25 left in the second half.  However, after junior Cory Keim came up with a big sack to make it 3rd and 26 for the Skins, the Redskins took a knee into the half with the score still at 7-6.

In the third quarter, the Redskins were knocking on the door of the end zone once again, but another great defensive stop kept them from scoring.  One of the key standouts on the Knights defense was junior R.J. Macnamara, who made some incredible plays, including a pass deflection to force a turnover on downs.

“My performance was based really off of my teammates.  They did their jobs allowing me to do what I needed to do,” Macnamara said.

The score still remained a close one at 7-6 into the 4th quarter.  And in a slow game, all the action was kept until 3:13 left in the game.  The Knights lined up for a field goal but the snap came before Cherradi and his holder Nate Brown were ready causing a fumble.  Brown recovered the ball but points were left off the board.

There was still plenty of time left for one final drive by the Redskins and their QB Brody McAndrew.  However, Spann had different plans as he came up with a clutch interception and then returned it for a pick six and gave the Knights the 13-6 lead.

I just knew I had to drop back in the zone and I saw (McAndrew) open up to throw the ball and I just jumped and caught it and ran”

— Evan Spann

“I just knew I had to drop back in the zone and I saw (McAndrew) open up to throw the ball and I just jumped and caught it and ran,” Spann said.

The Knights would have another miscue on the snap for the PAT which kept the game at 13-6. So, Neshaminy fans still had a glimmer of hope left.  McAndrew dropped back and launched a lob pass down the field for a 50-50 ball.  Senior Andy Cole tipped the ball up and fellow senior Kaleem Corbin intercepted the pass with a 1:04 left in the game.

“I just thought the defense was just awesome.  I was really excited how well we played on defense…the defensive front really put some pressure on (McAndrew).  They were running the ball on us early and I think the guys up front with a little bit of pride in the second half really sucked it up and played hard,” Head Coach Dick Beck explained.

The Knights took a couple knees to close out the game and come out with the win.  The Knights will play the Downingtown West Whippets (11-1) next Friday Night for the district semifinals match.