North Penn Upends Rustin

North Penn blew open a close game in the second half of Saturday's district opener. To view action photos of the game, visit the Photo Gallery

By Scott Huff

West Chester - North Penn head coach Dick Beck may not be a gambler on the field, but after his Knights dismantled host West Chester Rustin 48-21 in the opening round game of the PIAA District One playoffs, Beck was about to cash in on a bet he made with Neshaminy head coach Mark Schmidt.

North Penn – the #11 seed – will host Schmidt’s Redskins – the #14 seed – in a second round game next Friday at North Penn’s Crawford Stadium.  Neshaminy whitewashed Unionville – the #3 seed – 28-0 in its first round game.

“I texted Mark the whole week before the Pennsbury game telling him that Neshaminy was going to win (and earn a spot in the playoffs),” said Beck.  “I knew that somehow we were going to have another North Penn-Neshaminy game in the playoffs.”

That ticket to the second round game was punched by the superlative outing of senior Dan Gevirtz.  Gevirtz – who started the game as a wide receiver and caught a 44-yard pass from senior quarterback Corey Ernst – finished the game as the Knight tailback and jetted through the Golden Knight defense for 205 yards and two scores.

Gevirtz – who became the primary running back when Kyle Mayfield left the game with a leg injury early in the third period – looked very polished in his new role in the Knight backfield.

“All through my football career I had been a running back, until I got to high school,” said Gevirtz.  “I get some reps in practice during the week at running back, but I know the offense and there wasn’t a problem.  Plus my line and fullback (Ralphie Reeves who scored three touchdowns) gave me some great holes to run through.

“We saw in film that this was a team that we wanted to get to the edge against,” added Gevirtz.  “We wanted to take advantage of our team speed.”

“Dan has great vision and is very explosive,” said Beck of his 5-11 dynamo.  “He is our go-to guy whether he is in the backfield or as a wideout.  We want both Dan and Kyle (Mayfield – who rushed for 125 yards and a score before his injury) on the field together.  But when Kyle went down, we knew that Dan could be the next man to step in and do the job.”

And early in the game there was a job to do as West Chester Rustin – champion of the Ches-Mont American Conference – collected leads of 7-0 and 14-7 before the Knights began to take control of the contest.

Rustin scored on its second series of the game when fullback Conor Burke bulled in on a one-yard plunge.  The highlight of the drive was a 47-yard pass from Golden Knight quarterback Mike DeLancey to Anthony Nash.  Nash – who stands 6-5 and is extremely fast – is headed to Duke University on a football scholarship.

North Penn answered quickly to knot the score at 7-7.  The Knights put together a four-play scoring drive that covered 65 yards.  Mayfield broke off an electrifying 55-yard burst to highlight the drive, and Reeves culminated the scoring march with the first of his three short TD runs – this score from the 1-yard line.  Brandon Mandas – who would get off a stunning 60-yard punt later in the game – was successful on the first of his six extra points.

It took WC Rustin only three plays to regain the lead.  DeLancey executed a wonderfully conceived screen pass to running back Joe Palladino, who raced 78 yards for a touchdown.  The first period concluded with the Golden Knights leading 14-7.

North Penn scored on its first series of the second quarter to create a 14-14 contest.  Mayfield capped the drive with a 1-yard burst with the big play coming on a 44-yard pass from Ernst to Gevirtz.

The Knights of North Penn would take the lead for good on their finals offensive series of the first half.  North Penn ran an efficient two-minute offense that was capped when Ernst threw a 4-yard touchdown pass to Eddie Posavec.  The score came with just 31 seconds left in the half and gave the Big Blue a 21-14 advantage.

Ernst – who was 7-for-12 for 124 yards – was a perfect 4-for-4 passing on that critical drive.

“Corey has been doing that all season for us,” said Beck.  “We didn’t have timeouts, and he was the leader we needed him to be on the field.”

Gevirtz was at his best on the next NP scoring drive.  He opened the drive with an 11-yard run and toasted Rustin with a 60-yard burst on the next play.  Reeves blasted into the end zone on a four-yard run to push the lead to 28-14.

North Penn took advantage of a short field to score again in the third period.  Reeves scored his third TD on a 1-yard run to boost the lead to 35-14.  The drive featured a 20-yard connection from Ernst to senior tight end Shayne Watson.  Watson had a productive day at tight end with four catches for 54 yards.

Rustin scored its final touchdown to close to within 35-21.  DeLancey – who completed seven passes for 222 yards and two touchdowns – hit a streaking Nash for a 76-yard scoring strike.  Nash would catch just two balls but accounted for 123 reception yards.

The fourth period belonged to Gevirtz as he scored on a dazzling 42-yard run and finished the scoring with an 11-yard dart into the end zone.

The North Penn defense also had its moments as the Knights recovered a pair of fumbles (Watson and Derek Brandt) – had a pair of interceptions (Matt Smith and Gevirtz) – and had a pair of sacks by Josh Cook.  WC Rustin entered the game with a pair of 1000-yard plus runners to Burke and Taylor Cordairo – but both were held in check with 64 and 52 yards respectively.

“We heard a lot of stuff about how great Ches-Mont football is,” said Gevirtz.  “I guess we stuck it to them today.”

You could bet on it.

North Penn Knights                7     14   14   13   -      48
WC Rustin Golden Knights   14     0    7    0    -      21
WCR:  Conor Burke 1 run (Dylan Jenkins kick)
NP:  Ralphie Reeves 1 run (Brandon Mandas kick)
WCR:  Joe Palladino 78 pass from Mike DeLancey (Jenkins kick)
NP:  Kyle Mayfield 1 run (Mandas kick)
NP:  Eddie Posavec 4 pass from Corey Ernst (Mandas kick)
NP:  Reeves 4 run (Mandas kick)
NP:  Reeves 1 run (Mandas kick)
WCR:  Anthony Nash 76 pass from DeLancey (Jenkins kick)
NP:  Dan Gevirtz 42 run (Mandas kick)
NP:  Gervitz 11 run (Mandas kick)

North Penn                                              West Chester Rustin
        21                 First Downs                              10
       377                Rushing Yards                          148
       124                Passing Yards                           222
       501                Total Offense                           370
        1-60             Punts / Avg                               4-29
       4-40              Penalties / Yards                       3-15
North Penn Knights
       Rushing:  Dan Gevirtz 16-205- 2 TD; Kyle Mayfield 11-125 – TD; Ralphie Reeves 11-37 – 3 TD; Matt Smith 1-18; and Corey Ernst 3-2.   Totals 38-347- 5 TD.
       Passing:  Corey Ernst 7-12-1; 124 yards – TD.
       Receiving:  Shayne Watson 4-54; Gevirtz 1-44; Reeves 1-22; Eddie Posavec 1-4 – TD.
       Interceptions:  Matt Smith & Gevirtz.

West Chester Rustin Golden Knights
       Rushing:  Conor Burke 14-64 – TD; Cordario Taylor 12-52; Joe Palladino 7-31; Mike DeLancey 6-1.  Totals 39-148- TD.
       Passing:  DeLancey 7-12-2; 222 yards – 2 TD.
       Receiving:  Anthony Nash 2-123 – TD; Palladino 1-78 – TD; Taylor 2-12; Tyler Seal 1-7; Burke 1-2.  Totals 7-222- 2 TD.
       Interception:  Taylor