Knights Quick Start Helps Clip Hawks
WHITEMARSH TWP: The last time Tood Smolinsky and his North Penn Knights faced a top ranked program it was in the first week of the season when the Bethlehem Liberty came to Crawford Stadium and walked away with a 42-10 defeat at the hands of the Knights. Not only did the Knights revenge the lost in the Eastern Final from a year ago but they also learned a lesson. Saturday night in front of a pack house at Plymouth Whitemarsh they implied the lesson and defeated the St Joseph Prep by a score of 28-14. “We have to start fast, first game against Liberty they came out and punched us the mouth and we needed to respond. We wanted to them first.” Is what Smolinsky said about his team’s goal for the game.
The Knights certainly did by scoring 14 points in their first eight offense plays. The first came after the Hawks drove down the Knights 14 yard line on 14 plays on a drive that ate just about seven minutes off the clock when John Gregitis attempted at 32 yard field goal hit one of his linemen. Matt Donovan picked up and raced 46 yards to Hawks 34 yard line. Four plays later on his third pass of the game the first to falling incomplete Smolinsky connected with T.J Gill for a 33-yard touchdown. When asked about if there was any concern after his first two passes few incomplete Smolinski said “Them first passes were tough I made a mistake of the first and the second pass but I came out on the third one and just done what we did all week in practice and TJ just made a great play.” Knights head coach Dick Beck called the touchdown pass “a total strike it was something I thought would be open and TJ just made a great play.”
After forcing the Hawks to turn the ball over on downs thanks to sacking Hawks QB Skyler Mornhinweg for a 15 yard lost to Knights the ball at mid-field the Knights needed only fours play before Smolinski used his legs to take in from seven yards out. Giving the Knights the 14-0 lead.
On the next Knights drive the Knights would find the end zone through the air this time Smolinski would connect with Dom Taggart from 34 yards out giving the Knights the 21-0 lead heading into the locker room at half and that’s despite trailing the Hawks in first downs 9-6.
The Hawks would strike first in the second half when Garrett Compton would cap a five play drive with his two-yard plunge. Offensively the Hawks were led on the drive by the arm of Mornhinweg whose arm accounted for 35 yards. Mornhinweg would finish the game with 111 yards passing on 10-20 passing.
The Knights would respond two possessions later when Smolinski connected with Ralphie Reeves from four yards out to give the Knights the 28-7 lead. Smolinski finished the game 142 yards on 12 of 17 passing and added 44 yards on seven carries. When asked about Smolinski performance Beck responded “ Tood done that for us in the first two games so I expected him to do it tonight.”
From there the Knights turned the game over to their defense and they responded holding the Hawks to 164 yards of total offensive and just negative four yards rushing. Defensive the Knights were led by Mike Culbreath, Reeves, and Corey Ernest. “ We were solid defensive, we were flying to ball”
The Hawks would pull within 14 points when Paul McGann would connected Pete Hurley who made an outstanding grab after the ball was deflected by Jason Wrigley. Reeves would recover the ensuing onsides kick to halt the Hawks come back effort.
After the game, Hawks head coach Gil Brooks praised the Knights saying “ North Penn is good team and they just executed better than we did.
Up next for Hawks is their Catholic League opener against the defending champions and rivals LaSalle Explorers on Saturday night at Plymouth Whitemarsh
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