Red hot Jones helps push Knights past Big Red

The+Knights+were+looking+for+vengeance+for+their+second+game+against+Souderton+with+the+last+game+coming+off+a+2-0+loss.+Which+was+the+first+time+the+boys+soccer+team+lost+to+Souderton%27s+in+8+years.

Tyler Hamer

The Knights were looking for vengeance for their second game against Souderton with the last game coming off a 2-0 loss. Which was the first time the boys soccer team lost to Souderton’s in 8 years.

TOWAMENCIN – Heading into Thursday, the North Penn Boys soccer squad sat atop the Colonial Division and ahead of rival Souderton by a margin of just 4 points. With so much at stake, the Knights and Big Red went at it in yet another intense matchup on the turf.

The Knights (6-2 / 18pts) got their revenge on cross-town rival Souderton, (3-3-2 / 11pts) by knocking them off 2-1 on Thursday afternoon. Putting North Penn 7 points ahead of the Big Red, officially eliminating them from capturing the division crown.

With a Central Bucks East loss on Thursday, North Penn would officially clinch the colonial division for an extraordinary 5th straight season. However, even after the hard-fought win, the Knights have no intention of slowing down.

“We’re playing as if we need two more wins. Next week we are not going to take it easy that’s for sure. We have been approaching this season one game at a time and with everything that is going on, we are going to continue to do so,” Coach Depeppe said.

It did not take the Knights long to find the back off the net on Tuesday. Just 13 minutes in Sophomore Nate Kim hit a great ball into the box that found Junior Jovani Gonzalez, who headed the ball perfectly past the goalkeeper, giving the Knights the early 1-0 lead.

Once they took the lead, The Knights did not hesitate to keep up the pressure. Strong play in the middle from Juniors Alex Stewart and Hunter Stites helped keep up the pace in the first for the Knights. Senior Co-Captain Roman Ilovski was all over the field making plays happen left and right, generating a bunch of high-quality chances for the boys.

“I think just finding the ball from the backs and the outsides, knowing I had space and room to be able to dribble and shoot helps me a lot. I have great players on the outside that I can play the ball too or I can even send it up to Josh which makes things a lot easier for me,” Ilovski said.

Coming off his incredible 4 goal performance last Tuesday against Pennridge, Louisville commit Josh Jones was hungry to get another. His opportunity came in the 36th minute right before half, when Stewart made a phenomenal run up the far sideline and slotted a nice pass through to Jones, who promptly finished it past the goalkeeper.

“I saw Alex was making a great run to the corner, and I knew he would be able to find me. The ball was on his left foot though, which is his weaker foot; even though he claims it is stronger than his right, which I am not too sure about,” Jones said jokingly.

Jones has tallied a whopping 6 goals in his last 3 games and after struggling to find the back of the net early in the season, goals are seeming to come at will for him now.

“[Josh] has not always been playing striker, but the other day his finishing touch was just unbelievable. I watched it back and it was just incredible. We thought he would be scoring goals with his head, turns out he is scoring with his left and right foot and getting behind defenders. He is a special player and he is extremely difficult to mark, which obviously forces teams to throw double teams at him,” Depeppe said.

Even after all his success in the past couple of games, Jones still credits his teammates for doing the majority of the work for him.

“Just credit to the guys behind me getting the ball to my feet in space. It is not like I am just turning and going at three straight guys, normally I am played into space or there is a great ball in,” Jones said.

Just credit to the guys behind me getting the ball to my feet in space. It is not like I am just turning and going at three straight guys, normally I am played into space or there is a great ball in”

— Senior Josh Jones

Souderton would tack on one late in the second half to make it interesting, but strong defensive play in the back from Kevin Murphy and Achilles Triantafyllos helped lock the game down for the Knights.

With the win, the Knights still sit in a good position heading into the last stretch of the season and into District Playoffs.

“We knew we had to win it. They had us on our heels and beat us already once this year, so this was definitely a big one. We have one more home game left so we’re looking to remain undefeated here,” Depeppe said.

As defending PIAA 4A State Champions, the Knights feel that they have the tools they need to go back to back. However, they know they can not afford to look too far ahead.

“It is extremely important for our guys to keep cool heads down the last stretch of the season. We do not want to get big heads, the season is not over yet and there is still a lot more we would like to accomplish. Just because we are 7 points ahead of other teams does not mean we can let up and take our foot off the pedal,” Ilovski said.

The Knights will wrap up their regular season next week with games against Central Bucks South and East.