Just like his former teammates at La Salle, Upper Dublin's Isaiah Henrich is enjoying a successful playoff run. And the possibility exists that he and the Cardinals could face the Explorers in two weeks.
With his rugged play at offensive tackle and defensive end, Henrich helped Upper Dublin turn back Pennsbury, 24-14, in a PIAA District 1 Class AAAA semifinal playoff game Friday night in Fort Washington.
"Those are still my brothers," the 6-foot-5, 240-pound senior lineman said of La Salle. "I love all those kids, still talk to a lot of them on a regular basis, The school just wasn't a fit for me anymore."
The Cardinals recorded three sacks on Pennsbury's final possession. On fourth and 13 from the Upper Dublin 45, Henrich dumped quarterback Mike Alley for a 5-yard loss. "I said to myself, 'Listen, it's time to buck up. You're going to get this one, kid.' "
Advancing to the district final for the first time in program history, No. 3 seed Upper Dublin (13-0) will square off against No. 9 North Penn (11-2) for top honors at noon next Saturday at Souderton. North Penn reached the final with a 28-7 triumph Friday over No. 13 Neshaminy.
Henrich spent three years at La Salle before transferring to Upper Dublin before this school year.
"He brings a nastiness to this team," Cardinals coach Bret Stover said. "He's a warrior. He comes ready to play every week."
With Upper Dublin ahead by 21-14 with 81/2 minutes to go, quarterback Ryan Stover, the coach's son, engineered a 13-play drive that lasted more than 6 minutes. It was capped by Todd Spirt's 34-yard field goal.
Stover and company kept the drive alive with a pair of fourth-down conversions. Also, on third and 11 from the Pennsbury 36, Stover escaped around right end for a 13-yard gain. "He just makes plays when we need them," Henrich said.
Stover scrambled for a 24-yard touchdown midway through the first quarter. Halfback Kaleif Lee's 2-yard, second-quarter run gave the hosts a 14-7 advantage at intermission.
The dagger came at the start of the second half. The Cardinals put together a 13-play, 65-yard drive that was capped by Stover's 11-yard TD throw over the middle to Jack Rapine.
In holding the No. 15 Falcons (8-4) to a pair of scores, Upper Dublin's defense was led up front by Henrich, Naiim Huff, Gary Fields and Kane O'Connor. Linebackers Rapine, Max Winebrake, and Stacey Gardner stood out.
Pennsbury 7 0 7 0 - 14
Upper Dublin 7 7 7 3 - 24
UD: Ryan Stover 24 run (Todd Spirt kick)
P: Chris Rupprecht 1 (Chris Knop kick)
UD: Kaleif Lee 2 run (Spirt kick)
UD: Jack Rapine 11 pass from Stover (Spirt kick)
P: Greg Lichtenstein 15 pass from Mike Alley (Knop kick)
UD: FG Spirt 34