Imhotep captures the District 12 5A title with a 14-6 win over Roman Catholic
PHILADELPHIA — Mikal Davis’ feet hurt. It was a little hard to tell by the way the Imhotep Charter 6-foot, 200-pound junior quarterback moved through a very stubborn Roman Catholic defense on Saturday in the PIAA District 12 Class 5A championship at Northeast High School.
Davis’ crucial 30-yard fourth-quarter run, followed by his second touchdown of the game proved to be the winning difference in Imhotep’s 14-6 victory over Roman for the District 12 Class 5A championship.
The Panthers (9-1) now advance to the PIAA Class 5A quarterfinals against Whitehall next weekend, while Roman (8-3) saw a highly successful season end under coach Rick Prete.
“It wasn’t pretty at all but Mikal really came through for us,” Imhotep coach Devon Johnson said. “To be honest, we made a lot of mistakes early and we made a lot of points on the field. But we’re seeing Mikal staying composed, and that play there at the end was a big play for us.”
It was actually the Panthers’ first play of the game. Johnson pointed out that it wasn’t blocked.
So, he went back to it.
“We saw that the play was there, we had the look we wanted, we just had to get it blocked up and Mikal saw it and made it work,” Johnson said. “Much respect to Rick and I know he’s a great coach. They played us tough to the end.”
Davis, however, was left in socks on the chilly turf after the game.
“My feet were killing me,” he said. “I had foot warmers in my shoes and my feet were hurting the whole game. I couldn’t wait until the game was over so I could take my shoes off. In the long run, we wanted to run that play again, and this time, we blocked it better, I got the edge and I stutter-stepped the linebacker.
“I’ve been here before. I have a lot more maturity than I did last year when I wasn’t as patient. This year, I see the field better and I have more versatility. This year, I know what I’m doing.”
Roman had a chance to tie after recovering a fumble at the Imhotep 25 with less than four minutes to play. Running wildcat, the Cahillites got to the Imhotep two, and on fourth down, failed to score when Imhotep’s Andre Cooper and Raheem Reid came crashing down on Roman’s Jamir Robertson at for no gain.
The Panthers ran out the remaining time.
“We read the play and filled the pocket and being the nose tackle, I saw (Robertson) come to the right side,” said Cooper, the Panthers’ strongest player who’s 5-11, 261. “I doubled back on the play and pulled (Robertson) down from behind. We had to make that stop there.”
Playing without spectacular junior wide receiver Tyseer Denmark, the Roman offense was in a constant sputter. Still, Davis made sure the Panthers were in a comfortable position with a one-yard score with 6:12 left to play, made possible by his 30-yard run. He set it up when he faked a handoff, slipped left and pulled a great side move on a converging Roman defender, and sprinted down the sideline.
“They hit us with tight formations where they expand their formations and I thought we did a decent job of run fitting,” Prete said. “You can’t run too far upfield against them. You have to fight through the blocks and run fit. Some of our lack of execution is in part due to their execution, so I tip my hat to coach Johnson and their team.”
Either team was able to get much going offensively in the first two quarters. Roman was hanging on to a Moe Howell 96-yard touchdown return on the opening kickoff, while Imhotep answered later with a Davis one-yard score with :10 left in the half.
Though the scoreboard said it was close, the stats said otherwise. Roman had 43 yards of total offense in the first half to Imhotep’s 160. But when the Panthers looked like they were ready to get going, a snag would come, like linebacker Samir Thompson-Dean’s fumble recovery on a forced fumble by Cahillites’ Rakeem Refile early in the second quarter.
Roman’s best drive in the half came off that turnover, reaching the Imhotep 16 before the drive stalled on consecutive incompletions.
“I’m proud of these kids,” Prete said. “Our losses came to three really top-tier teams (Malvern Prep, St. Joe’s Prep, and Imhotep), and two of those three could be state champions. We really don’t have a lot of the same things those programs have, so as we develop more with facilities and things like that, it will help us.
“This was a special group of kids that we have and they’re laying the foundation for the future. We didn’t play the way we wanted to tonight, but we put the state on notice that we’re here.”
Roman Catholic (8-3) 6 0 0 0-6
Imhotep Charter (8-2) 0 7 0 7-14
RC – Moe Howell 96 kickoff return (kick failed), 11:46
IC – Mikal Davis 1 run (Kenneth Wosesley kick), 7:30
IC – Davis 1 run (Wosesley kick), 6:12
Joseph Santoliquito is an award-winning sportswriter who has been covering high school football since 1992 and is the president of the Boxing Writers Association of America. He can be followed on Twitter @JSantoliquito. Follow EasternPAFootball.com on Twitter @EPAFootball.
Follow EasternPAFootball.com on Twitter @EPAFootball
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