With Saturday’s 20-0 win over previously undefeated Berks Catholic, the Imhotep Institute Charter High School Panthers became the first-ever Philadelphia public-school team to qualify for a state-championship football game.
The game, played at Governor Mifflin High School in Shillington (Berks County), saw two teams deploy run-heavy offenses, with all three Imhotep touchdowns coming on runs of 40 yards or longer.
Senior captain Deandre Scott, who is heading to Arizona State University next year, started the scoring with a 75-yard touchdown run in the first quarter.
Sophomore running back Tyliek Raynor would add to the tally with a 49-yard touchdown just before halftime and a 40-yard scoring run in the third quarter.
Though the final score showed that Berks Catholic got shutout, they made several drives deep into Panthers territory but were kept out of the end zone each time. Their last-ditch effort ended with an interception by senior defensive back Quadeem Starks at the three-yard line.
“Right now, you get the chance to reap the benefits of your hard work.” Head Coach Albie Crosby told the team after the game. “Last year, this is where are season ended. Now, this is where it begins.”
As the local crowd cheered loudly for its defeated team walking off the field, Crosby repeated, “Enjoy this moment.” He said it three times, each louder than the last.
Next, at noon on Saturday, the Panthers will face the South Fayette Lions (15-0; from McDonald, on the outskirts of Pittsburgh) in the PIAA AA championship game at Hersheypark Stadium, which is a first for a Philadelphia public-school team, according to the Inquirer.
NewsWorks will be in Hershey to cover the game.