The North Penn football team has a new look for a new season.
On the opening day of practice Monday morning, the Knights were sporting their new helmets — matte Navy Blue with a wide Columbia Blue middle strip and interlocking ' NP' logo.
"We all like it, change it up a bit,' senior lineman Frank Tranzilli said. "We're a little bummed the swords are gone, but whatever.'
The fashion may be different, but coach Dick Beck is working to make sure winning never goes out of style for the Knights.
"I think the kids sometimes like a little bit of a change,' said Beck of NP's new helmets. "But we're not going to change our philosophy or our offense and stuff like that. Everything's going to be the same.'
North Penn finished 10-4 last year, winning the Suburban One League Continental Conference and reached the District 1-AAAA final for the fifth time in six seasons.
"I feel good about them because I think they're hard-working, focused,' Beck said. "When it comes to talent or how I think we're going to do, I'm never comfortable. That'll never happen.'
While calendar and temperature still read summer, the work put in at North Penn High School and the area said autumn as Monday was the first day the PIAA allowed practice for fall teams.
"I think it's more upsetting that school's starting back, but we're all excited for field hockey season,' North Penn field hockey senior Casey O'Donnell said.
O'Donnell was an all-SOL Continental first team selection as the Maidens went 10-9 last season — 7-7 in conference play — and qualified for the District 1-AAA tournament.
"We worked a lot in the offseason, I think it's definitely helping,' senior Marissa Elizardo said.
Added senior Amanda Laessig, "We used to be a really young team. So, we're starting to get older, we play together. Our varsity team has pretty much been the same for a couple years now so that helps.
Football had three days of heat acclimation practices last week, but Monday was the first time the Knights really got down to work.
"You (can) tell that the energy's there a lot more,' Tranzilli said. "Everybody's strapped up, everybody's ready to go. It's more all coming together now because we can all start hitting and everything.'
Tranzilli, an all-SOL Continental first-team pick, is part of a veteran offensive line that includes fellow seniors Andrew Thomas (second team), Nick Argento (third team) and Ryan Nowicki. An experience line should bode well for junior running back Nyfease West, who ran for over 1,000 yards in 2013.
The Suburban One League's realignment based on size has North Penn playing in the SOL National with fellow District 1 heavies Neshaminy and Pennsbury along with local rivals Pennridge and Souderton. North Penn opens with La Salle at home Aug. 29. The Knights have dropped five of six against the Explorers, including the last four season-opening matchups.
"I think we're feeling good. We got La Salle, we open up with them (which) we have for a few years in a row,' Tranzilli said. "It should be good the first three games, but we can't sleep on the conference. We've got to keep going, we've got to keep grinding like we are now.'
That daily grind and the end of summer fun may be a drag to some, but Tranzilli and the Knights are ready to get season started.
"Most people aren't really dreading it, they're like ' Ah, I don't want to wake up, I don't want to do this.'' Tranzilli said. ""But we're all playing football. We all signed up for it. We all love it,.'
Follow Mike Cabrey on Twitter @mpcabrey.