North Penn holds off Liberty 23-15
On a misty night in Bethlehem the Knights of North Penn (D1) defeated the Hurricanes of Liberty 23-15. This game was billed as one of the premier opening night games as both teams have established themselves as state contenders in recent years.
It was a game of two halves with North Penn taking a 20-0 halftime lead. Liberty outscored the Knights 15-3 in the second half but time was not on their side.
Liberty was plagued with penalties, missed tackles, and turnovers all night while North Penn capitalized on them.
Perhaps the story of the game was the impressive kicking of Brandon Mcmanus of North Penn. He consistently gave Liberty the ball at their own 20 as each of his 6 kickoffs went into or out of the back of the endzone. He also made 3 field goals of 42, 30, and 26- yards. In pre-game he kicked a 58-yarder.
Liberty’s first drive stalled on a Jarrod West fumble on a WR reverse. North Penn went for a fake punt that was halted by Liberty’s Anthony Gonzales on the ensuing drive.
After a personal foul facemask on Liberty, Andrew Stoll finished off North Penn’s 2nd drive with a 1-yard touchdown run with the PAT good, giving North Penn the 7-0 lead.
On North Penn’s 3rd drive, QB Justin Davey hit WR Ronnie Akins on a 30-yard TD strike in which Akins slipped a tackle on the way into the endzone. The drive was aided by a defensive approchement penalty on 4th and 1. North Penn 14-0.
Liberty’s next series ended on a Gonzales INT by North Penn’s Anthony Cardillo. North Penn followed with a 42-yard field goal by Mcmanus putting North Penn up 17-0.
North Penn’s very next drive ended with another Mcmanus field goal from 30-yards out making it 20-0.
In the second half Liberty started to move the ball by the running of (QB) Gonzales, (FB) Daryl Klotz, and (HB) Brandon Brader.
Liberty’s first score came on a 4-yard TD run by Gonzales with the PAT good cutting the lead to 20-7.
On the 1st play of the next series, North Penn’s Akins was at it again, this time running a scissors play 70-yards down to the 5-yard line. It appeared that Akins would score but he was eventually caught from behind by Pitt bound Devon Street. On that same drive Liberty held on 4th and 1 on the 1-yard line.
Liberty was forced to punt deep in it’s own territory setting up Mcmanus’s 3rd FG of the day from 26-yards out making the score 23-7.
Liberty would not go quietly as Brandon Brader scooted in from 10-yards out. Liberty went for the 2-point conversion in hopes of making it a 1-touchdown game. The result was Gonzales to Street for 2 and cutting the lead to 23-15.
Liberty then went for the onsides kick with about 4 minutes left but North Penn recovered and then converted 2 first downs to run out the clock.
Next week Liberty faces Parkland who was a 20-13 loser to St. Joe’s Prep and North Penn lines up against Lansdale Catholic.
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