And that’s a wrap.
As quickly as the regular season came, it’s gone now.
And area teams are poised to test themselves on a grander scale.
As far as these rankings are concerned, they remained as static this week as they did for most of the season. It’s familiar powers doing what they do best. Of course, in many ways, the lack of movement was sort of refreshing this season. It was a return to normalcy. Sure, COVID reared its head at certain times and places this regular season. But it wasn’t much.
In the end, we made it through the regular season, and it was a success. And considering where we were this time last year, that sort of normalcy feels good.
This week, La Salle captured the Philadelphia Catholic League Red Division title in a shutout of Archbishop Wood, adding fuel to one of the few debates in these rankings: Who is No.1?
The playoffs are starting with top of the rankings feeling almost like a 1 and 1(a) type situation, but these things have a tendency of working themselves out in the postseason.
The good news is, the playoffs are here.
1. St. Joseph’s Prep 6-2 (1)
The Hawks rounded out their regular season this weekend with a 21-13 win over Father Judge. They enter the postseason riding a four-game win streak and appear a bit more locked in after a loss to La Salle on Oct. 2. Sophomore quarterback Samaj Jones has shown some scary athleticism this season. His leadership will be needed just as much in the coming weeks. Of course, it’ll help that he has a star-studded defense backing him up. Only La Salle put up more than 21 points on the unit this year.
2. La Salle 8-1 (2)
The Explorers sealed the coveted Philadelphia Catholic League Red Division title this weekend with a 20-0 blanking of Archbishop Wood. La Salle’s defense was the star of this win, forcing two big first half turnovers – interceptions by Del Jackson and Kelby Hampton – to help the team establish control. Running back Sam Brown, as usual, was dominant and racked up 105 rushing yards.
3. Imhotep Charter 7-1 (3)
Imhotep enters the postseason having been on ice since a 44-3 win over MLK on Oct. 15. That’s probably not going to be a good thing for the Panthers’ opening round opponent in the postseason. A healthy and hungry Imhotep defense should be able to hang with any team in the state.
4. North Penn 10-0 (4)
North Penn capped a perfect regular season with a 35-7 route of Central Bucks South on Friday night. In many ways, the Knights made this season look easy, so Friday night was a fitting send off. Khalani Eaton rushed for almost 200 yards in the game, including a 94-yard touchdown run. He finished the regular season just shy of 1,700 rushing yards.
5. Malvern Prep 6-2 (5) The Friars continued to breeze through their Inter-Ac slate this week in a 31-7 win over Germantown Academy on Saturday afternoon. D’Angelo Stocker got things started in this one. He returned the opening kickoff 95 yards for a touchdown and Malvern Prep never looked back. Episcopal Academy is up next for Malvern Prep, but it looks like a league title is the Friars’ to lose.
6. Archbishop Wood 5-4 (6)
The Vikings’ 20-0 loss to La Salle makes their final regular season record look a bit deceiving. Their only in-state losses this season were to St. Joseph’s Prep, Malvern Prep and La Salle. So, despite a record that’s closer to the .500 mark than any team in these rankings, Archbishop Wood clearly established itself, yet again, as one of the area’s deepest and most talented teams.
7. Garnet Valley 10-0 (7)
Already the Central League champion, Garnet Valley put a final cherry on top of its regular season on Friday night. The Jaguars topped Lower Merion, 38-14, to enter the postseason with a perfect 10-0 record. This game felt more like a formality – starters were rested and the wealth was spread around on offense. But the win helped Garnet Valley edge North Penn for the No. 1 seed in the District-1 Class 6A playoffs.
8. Quakertown 10-0 (8)
Not surprisingly, Quakertown joined Garnet Valley and North Penn in the “perfect regular season” club on Friday night. The Panthers topped Truman 50-6 to earn their 10th win of a dominant campaign. The Panthers outscored their opponents 355-84 in the regular season (which means they’re winning games by an average of 30 points). Tougher tests are surely on the horizon for Quakertown.
9. Neumann-Goretti 8-1 (9)
Neumann-Goretti brushed aside West Catholic, 40-6, on Saturday afternoon, putting a cherry on top of its Philadelphia Catholic League Blue Division title. The Saints enter the playoffs having not allowed a team to score in double digits since a 26-20 win over Bonner-Prendergast on Oct. 1.
10. Coatesville 9-1 (10)
Coatesville captured its sixth straight Ches-Mont National Division title in dominant fashion on Friday night in a 42-7 win over Downingtown East. Ashon Wesley had a night to remember, rushing for more than 250 yards and three touchdowns on just 18 carries.
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.