Knights win opener with offensive outburst


Sam Santangelo

Khalani Eaton gets loose and scores a touchdown. He rushed for a total of 279 yards.

Football is officially back and the home North Penn Knights gave a lot to be excited about for this season.  The student section along with the rest of the spectators saw the Neshaminy Redskins and North Penn Knights combine for 89 points as both teams featured two high octane offenses.

“We can be balanced with being able to throw the ball deep, throw the medium passes, and also be able to run the ball like that.  I think that’s pretty special,” Head Coach Dick Beck said on the Knights offensive attack.

The North Penn Knights (1-0) kicked off the 2019 campaign with a 55-34 win against the Neshaminy Redskins (0-1) at Crawford Stadium.  It was a highly anticipated game not only because it was week one, but also because of the games that were played between these two teams last year.  The two teams matched up in week one of the 2018 season where the Knights won 34-33 in double overtime.  After that, they met in the quarterfinals of the playoffs where the Knights prevailed again in a 13-6 victory.

Earlier this year the Knights lost a key member of their family when Ray Macnamara passed away and in honor of Macnamara a moment of silence was held before the game along with a RAY sticker on every player’s helmet.  The game started in honor of Macnamara and ended that way as the game ball went to Jane Macnamara, Ray’s wife.

“It means the world to me, knowing that they have our backs is amazing and knowing that if we need anything, they’ll be there.  It makes me glad that I have them to call family,” senior RJ Macnamara said in regards to the Knights support towards him and his family.

Ian Sheehan came out fast and furious on the Neshaminy opening drive as his 41-yard reception setup a rushing touchdown from Chris James with 7:05 left in the first quarter.  The Redskins had a 7-0 lead after the PAT and looked to add on but senior Kevon White came up with a momentum changing interception with 3:01 left to play in the first quarter.

“I saw Sheehan lined up to my side by myself and I know they like to run the go or the fade to the single receiver so I counted on my team to tell me the ball was in the air and I turned around and it fell right in to my arms,” White explained.

This led to a drive capped off by an 11-yard rush from senior Evan Spann and after the PAT, the game was tied and stayed that way for the remaining 7 seconds in the quarter.

When the Knights got the ball back in the 2nd quarter, sophomore Khalani Eaton introduced himself to the North Penn fans with a monstrous 80-yard run that setup a 5-yard touchdown run from Spann.  The PAT was no good and score was 13-7 in favor of the Knights.  On the next offensive possession, the Knights came up with another big play down the field as senior quarterback Kolby Barrow found fellow senior Ken Grandy for a wide open 69-yard reception.

This was a big play for Barrow who had a shaky first drive.  Barrow did not play football last season and made his return to Crawford Stadium by throwing for 143 yards and was 7 for 19 on passes.

“Felt really good.  Teammates supported me so the transition was really easy so I like it a lot and it’s a lot of fun,” Barrow said of the transition back to football.

The Redskins answered back with a big play of their own as Sheehan came up with another reception deep down the field, this one a 40-yard touchdown.  The PAT was no good and the Redskins didn’t have to wait too long to get the ball back thanks to Grandy’s 100-yard kickoff return, a school record.

“I was feeling good.  I thought we had the momentum rolling our way and I just took a shot and it was great.  Our blockers really set it up for us,” Grandy said.

The Redskins answered back yet again however, this time with a touchdown pass from quarterback Brody McAndrew to Mason Demi.  That was the final score of the first half as the score at the break was 27-20.

To begin the second half, the Knights came out ready to add to that lead quickly.  Macnamara rushed in for a 6-yard touchdown to cap off a 10-play 70-yard drive to begin the half.  McAndrew followed that with a 2-yard rushing touchdown to finish off an 11-play and 75-yard drive for the Redskins. McAndrew would go on to finish the game with 270 passing yards, 3 passing touchdowns along with a rushing touchdown, and an interception on a 8 for 17 passing night.

With 1:38 left in the 3rd quarter, Macnamara carried the ball on 4th down and moved the chains on a critical 4th down conversion.  Eaton made it count with a 15-yard rushing touchdown.  The quarter came to a close with the score at 40-27 in favor of the Knights.

Sheehan continued his big night as he hauled in an 80-yard touchdown as the Redskins began an attempt to a 4th quarter comeback.  Sheehan finished the night with 6 receptions for 221 yards and 2 touchdowns.

Macnamara rushed for a 2-yard touchdown to finish an 80-yard drive in the end zone.  Due to the earlier point after touchdown missed, the Knights elected to go for two and were successful as Barrow found Spann in the end zone.

The Knights finished the game off thanks to a turnover on downs as McAndrew had to throw the ball away due to the pressure from juniors Ben Sanfelice and DJ Fisher.  Eaton rushed for a 65-yard touchdown for the last score of the game in a wild offensive night.  Eaton finished rushing for 279 yards on 18 carries including two touchdowns.

“It was our first game, it was my first game as a sophomore so I was just coming out and trying to give it my best,” Eaton said.

The Knights will be back at home again next Friday where they will be up against the LaSalle Explorers.  The Knights beat the Explorers 21-13 last year.