Consider this the calm before the storm.
Most was quiet this week, at least as far as rankings are concerned, in Southeastern Pa. football.
But it was buildup to the gem of the regular season: No. 1 St. Joseph’s Prep vs. No. 2 La Salle on Saturday at 3 p.m. at Franklin Field.
This game will, in fact, feel more like a college atmosphere — and not just because both teams are stocked with big-time college prospects. This game could ultimately decide who's the No. 1 team in these rankings are at the end of this regular season.
Although all eyes will be on that Holy War next weekend, battles for conference and division titles are heating up all over the area. Some big statements were made on that front this weekend, notably Garnet Valley’s win over Strath Haven, which puts Garnet Valley very much in the driver’s seat in the Central League.
Expect more games like that throughout the second half of the regular season.
1. St. Joseph's Prep 2-1 (Last week: 1) The Hawks had a bye this week in preparation for a must-watch showdown with La Salle on Saturday afternoon.
2. La Salle 5-0 (Last week: 2) La Salle stayed perfect on Saturday with a 38-14 drubbing of McDonogh (Maryland). Running back Sam Brown, a Rutgers recruit, turned a screen pass into an 80-yard touchdown, and the Explorers defense made several highlight-reel plays in the win.
3. Imhotep Charter 3-1 (Last week: 3) Imhotep looked like it was making up for lost time after not playing last week. The Panthers walked away a 50-7 winner over Simon Gratz. The Imhotep Charter defense, one of the most highly touted in the state, hasn’t let up more than 10 points in a game this season.
4. North Penn 5-0 (Last week: 4) Running back Khalani Eaton had been putting up big numbers all season. But this weekend was about more than numbers. The junior sensation was clutch throughout Friday night’s 21-14 win over Suburban One National League rival Pennridge. He finished with 155 yards and two touchdowns, including an 18-yard score to give his team some breathing room in the fourth quarter.
5. Malvern Prep 3-1 (Last week: 5) A week after a major statement win over Archbishop Wood, Malvern Prep kept its momentum going in a 37-7 win over Berks Catholic. The Friars' smashmouth style of football was in full display on both sides of the ball. The Friars defense has allowed just 14 points this season.
6. Archbishop Wood 3-2 (Last week: 6) This wasn’t exactly what the doctor ordered after a tough loss to Malvern Prep. The Vikings lost 38-0 to St. John’s (New York), one of the top programs in the country, marking their second straight game without scoring a point. Things won’t get much easier from here as Archbishop Wood finishes out its regular season against a string of Catholic League opponents, including St. Joe’s and La Salle. The Vikings are clearly one of the area’s most talented teams but will need to show it on the field Friday night against Roman Catholic.
7. Garnet Valley 5-0 (Last week: 7) This week was supposed to be different. It wasn’t. Garnet Valley beat Strath Haven on Friday night to continue its sheer dominance over every team it has faced this season. Strath Haven, a heated Central League rival for Garnet Valley, also came into the game undefeated. Most were hoping for competitive football. But it was more of the same for the Jaguars. Garnet Valley, deep and talented all over the field, is averaging more than 48 points per game this season. Its defense has allowed just 47 points combined through five games.
8. Quakertown 5-0 (Last week: 9) Quakertown bowled over Upper Dublin on Friday night in a 31-0 blowout. The Panthers don’t have the area’s strongest strength of schedule. But it’s hard to argue with the results. And it’s easy to see the talent on the field. Running back John Eatherton has been a standout. He rushed for more than 100 yards again on Friday night.
9. Neumann-Goretti 3-1 (Last week: 10) After a bye week, the Saints had to shake off some rust in the form of penalties and turnovers, but their talent ultimately took over in a 30-6 trouncing of Conwell-Egan. Running back Jayden Sumpter had two touchdowns in the win.
10. Coatesville 4-1 (Last week: Not ranked) After a 48-0 win over West Chester Henderson on Saturday, Coatesville has outscored its last two opponents 83-0.
For any comments or questions about these rankings – or if you have an area high school sports story you think needs to be told, contact Chris Melchiorre at CMelchiorre11@yahoo.com.