Neshaminy's Cory Joyce said he thoroughly enjoyed playing in the steady rain and traversing through the muddy areas of Harry E. Franks Stadium on Friday night.
"It's a lot of fun, especially on defense," the senior said. "We love getting dirty and grinding out a win."
Joyce and the host Redskins managed 277 rushing yards despite the conditions and cruised past Haverford High, 35-7, in a PIAA District 1 Class 6A first-round playoff.
Joyce has been a key contributor for Steve Wilmot's squad as a wide receiver, free safety, and punt returner.
"Cory is a fierce competitor," Wilmot said. "He's the heart and soul of everything we do. He's a tremendous kid, does well on the field and in the classroom."
Joyce, a second-year captain, caught touchdown passes of 56 and 21 yards in the surprising rout of the Fords.
On his first-quarter score, the 6-foot, 170-pounder beat a defender in one-on-one coverage near the Neshaminy sideline, caught a pass from Brody McAndrew at the 25, and raced to pay dirt from there.
His 21-yard tally midway through the third quarter capped a nine-play, 77-yard drive and upped Neshaminy's advantage to 28-0.
The No. 8-seeded Redskins (8-3) will visit No. 1 North Penn (11-0) in a quarterfinal matchup next Friday night. The Knights ousted No. 16 Ridley, 26-16, at Wissahickon.
It will mark the second meeting this season between Neshaminy and North Penn. The visiting Knights edged the Redskins, 34-33, in overtime in Week 1.
"When we first saw the brackets, we knew that a rematch was possible," Joyce said. "We came up a point short the first time. Now, we get the chance to see how much we've improved since then."
Neshaminy sophomore halfback Chris James carried 19 times for 179 yards against No. 9 seed Haverford. The 5-6, 160-pounder escaped for a 30-yard TD in the second quarter.
"The things he does, considering his size, are really impressive," said Joyce, who has made 34 catches for 549 yards and six scores this season.
Neshaminy's defense limited the Fords (8-3) to 94 yards rushing and 63 passing. Joe Gallagher's team avoided a shutout on Chasen Wint's 1-yard plunge early in the fourth stanza.
Joyce is a shortstop in baseball and last season earned Suburban One League National Conference second-team honors.
"I'm leaning toward playing baseball in college, but I'm not ruling out football yet," said the 18-year-old from Levittown.
Haverford High: 0 0 0 7 – 7
Neshaminy: 14 7 14 0 – 35
N: Oleh Manzyk 26 run (kick failed)
N: Cory Joyce 56 pass from Brody McAndrew (Bobby Buchys pass from McAndrew)
N: Chris James 30 run (Jack Hughes kick)
N: Joyce 21 pass from McAndrew (Hughes kick)
N: Ryan O'Connor 7 run (Hughes kick)