Garnet Valley has fared remarkably well as the No. 10 seed in the PIAA District 1 Class 6A football tournament.
The Jaguars, who were flying under the radar coming into the playoffs, hit the road and knocked off No. 7 Central Bucks South, No. 2 Neshaminy, and No. 3 Perkiomen Valley.
They'll try to continue their surprising run when they face No. 1 North Penn in the district final at 7 p.m. Friday at Crawford Stadium.
"It always helps to be the underdog," longtime Garnet Valley coach Mike Ricci said. "It's a role we've grown to like."
Since Friday's contest against the 13-0 Knights is also a state quarterfinal, the 11-2 Jaguars are two victories away from reaching Hershey for the first time since 2007.
"It's been a great ride and we're enjoying it," Ricci said. "We've been getting better and better each week."
In Friday's 44-27 triumph over previously undefeated Perkiomen Valley, Garnet Valley's triple-option attack netted 425 rushing yards on 63 attempts.
Matt Lassik led the way by carrying 34 times for 235 yards and four touchdowns. Jacob Buttermore was next in line with 132 yards on nine tries. Fellow running back Danny Guy and quarterback Nick Juliano are also part of the mix.
For the season, Buttermore has rushed 133 times for 1,015 yards and 14 scores. He is followed by Lassik (118 for 816, 12), Juliano (94 for 460, nine), and Guy (91 for 396, five).
Of the 5-foot-10, 175-pound Juliano, who passed only four times vs. Perkiomen Valley, Ricci said, "He's a strong leader and he really understands what we're trying to accomplish on offense."
Garnet Valley's offensive line rotation features center Tom Mahoney, guards Alex Yao, Jake Erley and Ryan Shomo (6-2, 260), tackles Chad Hrivniak (6-3, 205) and Joe DiAntonio (6-3, 200), and tight ends John Ricci, the coach's son, and Zelik Wooten.
The Jaguars notched four unanswered scores (three TD runs and Buttermore's 26-yard field goal) spanning the second and third quarters to take a 31-14 advantage against Perkiomen Valley.
Buttermore and Lassik scored on runs of 8 and 7 yards, respectively, to make it 44-21 in the final stanza.
Garnet Valley's defense has been spearheaded by end Hrivniak, tackles Rob Monachello and Joe Thomas, inside linebacker Charlie Coslett, outside linebacker Dom Bertone, and cornerback Denny Nealon.
Extra points. Prep Charter, because of a shortage of players and because it has not played a game since Oct. 21, has opted out of its Thanksgiving Day meeting vs. Frankford. . . . Del-Val Charter topped Conwell-Egan, 26-14, in Saturday's Class 3A state opener at Benjamin Johnston Memorial Stadium. The Warriors' Kyree Wade, a 6-4, 320-pound senior two-way lineman, posted 11/2 sacks. For C-E, sophomore lineman Dwayne Majors registered seven first-half tackles, including a second-quarter sack. . . . St. Joseph's Prep senior offensive lineman Carter Lynch (6-7, 310) has received walk-on offers from Alabama and Michigan. He has also drawn interest from Albany, Delaware, Florida Atlantic, and Villanova.
PIAA Class 6A quarterfinal
Garnet Valley at North Penn, 7 p.m.
PIAA Class 5A quarterfinals
Academy Park at Springfield-Delco, 7 p.m.
Archbishop Wood vs. Whitehall, at Northampton, 7 p.m.
PIAA Class 4A quarterfinal
Imhotep Charter vs. North Pocono, at Northern Lehigh, 7 p.m.
PIAA Class 6A quarterfinal
Parkland vs. St. Joseph's Prep, at Northeast, 1 p.m.
PIAA Class 3A quarterfinal