With a talented group of senior skill-position players, North Penn is primed to make a deep run into the state playoffs.
Standing in the squad's way in a PIAA Class 6A first-round playoff is a young but dynamic Coatesville squad that could be a year away from major success or ready to strike now.
That's what makes the highly anticipated matchup between the 11-1 Red Raiders and the 12-0 Knights at 7 p.m. Friday at Lansdale's Crawford Stadium a potential thriller.
The state contest also serves as a District 1 semifinal, with the survivor taking on either Garnet Valley or Perkiomen Valley for the first-place trophy next weekend.
Coatesville's speed-laden offense has a pair of top-notch underclassmen in sophomore running back Aaron Young and dual-threat freshman quarterback Ricky Ortega, the son of Red Raiders coach Matt Ortega.
The 5-foot-11, 185-pound Young, a Division I-A prospect, has carried 123 times for 1,242 yards and 23 touchdowns. "He's fast. He's big, and he's tough," North Penn coach Dick Beck said. "He's going to be a star."
Ortega is dangerous with his arm and as a runner out of the shotgun. He escaped for scores of 22 and 30 yards in last week's 41-21 elimination of Ridley. "You can't take your eyes off him," Beck said.
Ortega has a fleet receiving corps at his disposal in Avery Young, a junior and Aaron's brother; senior Jadan Hudson; junior Mekai Alexander; and freshman Dapree Bryant.
Possibly more than ever before in Beck's 15 seasons, North Penn has leaned heavily on its passing game. That's because it has a poised and strong-armed quarterback in Reece Udinski.
Udinski, a second-year starter, has completed 176 of 292 passes for 3,111 yards and 31 TDs.
"He's also a deceptively good runner," Matt Ortega said. "He runs well enough to move the sticks. He's a lot quicker than people think."
Udinski spreads the ball among halfback Nick Dillon and wideouts Ricky Johns, Jake Hubler, and Justis Henley. Dillon, with 788 rushing yards and 18 touchdowns, takes some heat off Udinski.
Coatesville's 4-2-5 defense is led up front by tackles Isaiah Hall and Alex Raimondo and ends Jimmy Limper and Chris Carney. Linebackers Taun Evans and Nik Thompson are dependable tacklers.
For North Penn, a defensive line focused on slowing Aaron Young and Ricky Ortega is made up of tackles Zach Lavalla and Owen Verespy and ends Nick Vasger and Julian White. The West Virginia-bound Johns switches between outside linebacker and strong safety.