Perennial powers and non-league rivals North Penn and La Salle will open their 2022 seasons against each other when the Explorers travel to Crawford Stadium on Friday night for a Week 1 battle.
It starts at 19:00
North Penn is coming off an outstanding 2021 season. The Knights went 10-0 in the regular season and advanced to the District 1-6A quarterfinals, losing to Ridley.
La Salle is coming off a good season as well, as the Explorers went 8-1 in the regular season and reached the District 12-6A final, losing to St. Joe’s Prep.
This is the first meeting between North Penn and La Salle since 2019 – before that the two teams met every season for several years.
North Penn quarterback Ryan Zeltt leads the Knights in 2022. He threw for 1,842 yards and 24 touchdowns a season ago, earning first-team All-SOL National Conference honors.
The experienced offensive line will look to create a wall around Zelt, whose receiving corps received a key addition in the transfer of Yazid Haynes, a Georgia verbal commitment.
Junior Rashad McNeil and seniors Xavier Bryan and Nick Hoffman should account for the passing game, along with Haynes, who Rivals.com ranks as the No. 3 recruit in the state.
Senior lineman Darold Dengahe, a 2021 Philadelphia Catholic League Red Division first-team selection and James Madison verbal commit, leads La Salle’s defense.
Dengahe, who led the team in tackles with six and tied for second in total tackles with 75 last season, according to Ed Palmer of easternpafootball.com, is one of eight returning starters in an Explorer defense that allowed just 11.5 points per game in 2021.
A season ago, the Explorers went three games without a game.
PCL Red Division wide receivers Ryan Sorge and Nole Henry — both seniors — give the Explorers two speedy weapons to rely on.
North Penn’s defense, meanwhile, has a tough linebacker group with junior Dave Dawes (missing 2021 due to injury) and seniors Luke Cody and James Mangin.
La Salle at North Penn
Time/Place: Friday, 7 p.m., North Penn.
On Twitter: @mpcabrey.
Last year: North Penn went 10-0 in the regular season and advanced to District 1-6A. La Salle went 8-1 and then advanced to the District 12-6A finals.
Key players: North Penn quarterback Ryan Zelt leads Knight’s high-powered offense, while senior lineman Darald Dengahe keeps the Explorer defense tough.
Prediction: North Penn 21, La Salle 14.