It almost felt like a nudge from the football gods. Not that any of us really needed it.
There wasn’t single major upset in Southeastern Pa. football on Friday night. In fact, every team in the Top-10 walked away victorious. Every team did pretty much what we all expected.
The football gods didn’t give us all that much to talk about entering Saturday afternoon …. other than the juggernaut of a game between St. Joseph’s Prep and La Salle.
This spotlight was squarely on the Holy War at Franklin Field on Saturday afternoon. And it didn’t disappoint.
In front of a crowd of about 10,000, La Salle notched a historic 28-21 win over rival St. Joseph Prep in a nail-biter of a game that will – and this is not hyperbole – probably be talked about for years to come.
It’s the only change in this week’s Top-10. But it’s a changing of the guard. The rest of the area landscape was to give all of us a better chance to take in history: No. 2 knocking off No. 1.
The magnitude of the game – that feeling of so much on the line – should also be a reminder that the regular season is flying by. We’re officially in the back end of it, and playoffs will increasingly be on everyone’s mind from this point forward.
1. La Salle 6-0 (2)
There were heroes all over the field on Saturday afternoon for La Salle in its 28-21 win over St. Joseph’s Prep. Sam Brown – the dynamic running back bound for Rutgers – was a standout, as usual. La Salle was trailing 14-7 at halftime, and Brown had been shutdown for the first two quarters. But his 82-yard touchdown set the tone for a third quarter in which La Salle outscored Prep 21-0 to take control of the game. Brown rushed for 120 yards. Ryan Moore had over 100 yards receiving. He also recorded the punt that everyone will be talking about this week: On an option play on fourth down in the fourth quarter, Brown chose to punt the ball, and executed a running punt to pin Prep at their own 1-yard line, helping to stave off Prep’s comeback attempt.
2. St. Joseph’s Prep 2-2 (1)
The Hawks loss to La Salle was historic on so many different levels. The team, which has won the last three Class 6A state championships, hadn’t lost in-state since 2017. And they hadn’t lost a Philadelphia Catholic game since 2015 (when they fell to La Salle). It does feel like something of a new era has dawned at St. Joe’s Prep. The slate feels like it’s been wiped clean a bit. But this team is young and extremely talented and should only build from here. Prep isn’t done making noise in 2021.
3. Imhotep Charter 4-1 (3)
Imhotep Charter kept rolling this week with a 40-7 win over Bartram. Only La Salle has scored more than 10 points on the Panthers this season. Imhotep entered this season as one of the state’s most highly touted defenses. The Panthers have lived up to that reputation.
4. North Penn 6-0 (4)
Before this week, North Penn has largely been the Khalani Eaton show on offense – the junior running back has been lighting up opponents all season. This week, it was quarterback Ryan Zeltt’s turn to shine. The junior threw for three touchdowns in a 42-21 win over Neshaminy on Friday night. Eaton also notched another pair of rushing touchdowns.
5. Malvern Prep 3-1 (5)
A stellar season took a pause this week. Malvern Prep was on a buy this week in preparation for a showdown with undefeated Archbishop Spalding on Friday night.
6. Archbishop Wood 4-2 (6)
The Vikings ended a two-game skid on Friday night with a 30-14 win over Roman Catholic. Running back James Bermudez rushed for over 100 yards and a touchdown on 15 carries. Ricardo Delgado notched two touchdowns and an interception for the Vikings in the win. This sort of play will have to continue as two of the Vikings final three regular season games are against La Salle and St. Joseph’s Prep.
7. Garnet Valley 6-0 (7)
For the second time in three games, Garnet Valley put up over 60 points in a game. The Jaguars topped Ridley 65-37 on Friday night. Jason Bernard rushed for over 200 yards in the win. But, oddly enough, despite scoring 65 points, the defense deserves a huge chunk the credit. The unit allowed 34 points in the first half before making some serious halftime adjustments. The win all but seals the Central League title for Garnet Valley. After beating Strath Haven last week, the Jaguars have knocked off two of the League’s most talented teams in back-to-back games.
8. Quakertown 6-0 (8)
It was the 309-Bowl this week in Quakertown. The Panthers edged their classic neighboring rival in a 36-14 win over visiting Souderton. For the first time this season, Quakertown was not winning at halftime. The game was tied 7-7. But quarterback Will Steich was responsible for four scores in the second half – 2 passing and two rushing – to help his team pull away.
9. Neumann-Goretti 4-1 (9)
The Saints edged a strong Bonner Prendergast 26-20 on Friday night in a game that was played without fans due an outside threat of violence that surfaced earlier in the week. Neumann-Goretti Quarterback Marqui Adams threw for more than 200 yards in the win, and the defense forced a crucial fumble to help seal the game late in the fourth quarter.
10. Coatesville 5-1 (10)
Another week, another dominant win for Coatesville. The Red Raiders beat Oxford 50-20 on Friday night after jumping out to a huge early lead. Coatesville is the clear favorite to win the Ches-Mont National Division title.
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.