Imhotep Charter is right on time for Hershey after a 36-0 victory over Strath Haven in 5A Eastern finals
The bus was late, so Imhotep Charter’s football team had to wait to take its trek down I-95 South to Ridley High School Friday night to meet Strath Haven for the PIAA 5A semifinal game.
Finally, by 6:33 p.m., Imhotep began walking on the field for its scheduled 7 p.m. start.
By then, an angry Imhotep team was made angrier.
It took that frustration out on District 1 champion Strath Haven, 36-0, to advance to the PIAA Class 5A state finals next Friday at Hershey Park Stadium to face District 7’s Penn-Trafford (12-2), 49-14 winners over District 3 Exeter Township (10-4).
Imhotep (11-1) will be playing in the state finals for the first time since 2017, when it reached the state championship as a Class 4A.
“This was our goal all season,” Imhotep coach Devon Johnson said. “As long as we maintained our focus and discipline, these guys knew what they were capable of doing and they did it. One more to go. That’s been our goal—state champions.”
Playing a huge role for Imhotep was junior tailback and defensive back Rahmir Stewart. He scored Imhotep’s first two touchdowns and played his usual stellar game defensively, snuffing out Strath Haven’s Wing-T offense.
Stewart has done a little of everything for Imhotep.
“Whatever my team and my coaches need me to do, I’ll do it,” Stewart said. “We’ve been hearing since my freshman year about getting to the state championship. We haven’t played our best. We have other gears that we’re going to show next week.”
The game was essentially over by halftime.
Imhotep took a 20-0 into the half, but they were in control. Imhotep had 193 yards of total offense—with 156 coming on the ground. Imhotep’s defense, meanwhile, held a very potent Strath Haven offense to a mere 38 yards—all on the ground.
Imhotep scored on its initial three possessions. It took the opening kickoff 74 yards on seven plays, ending with Stewart’s bulldozing 24-yard touchdown run through a handful of Strath Haven defenders, who bounced off of him like bullets trying to stop a locomotive.
On Imhotep’s second drive, it traveled 53 yards on 10 plays, resulting in Stewart’s second TD, a four-yard score with 11:53 left in the half. Imhotep topped off a half of dominance with a 32-yard bubble screen touchdown from Mikal Davis to RJ Atkinson with 2:37 left in the half.
Imhotep bottled up Strath Haven’s Wing-T attack by staying disciplined and having stellar defensive ends Enai White and Penn State-bound Keon Wylie keep the Strath Haven runners contain, pushing them to the inside, where they ran into Imhotep’s interior defenders.
Strath Haven reached the Imhotep 29 on its third drive, when the drive stalled and Imhotep took over. Other than that, Strath Haven could do little against Imhotep’s first-team defense when the game was semi-competitive.
On Imhotep’s first second-half possession, freshman Jabree Wallace-Coleman took a handoff 41 yards for a 28-0 lead with 10:05 left in the third quarter. Imhotep back-up quarterback Sybree Williams-Rockeymore put it into the mercy rule with a 1-yard run and Will Robinson conversion run with 9:31 left to play.
“We had a real good year and the kids battled hard and we achieved a lot,” said legendary Strath Haven coach Kevin Clancy. “That’s a really good football team. Everyone knows Imhotep has great talent, but what I like is that they play as a team and they’re very well-coached. In my years in the 5A playoffs, I don’t know if we ever played a team that was that good.”
Imhotep Charter (11-1) 6 22 0 8-36
Strath Haven (13-2) 0 0 0 0-0
IC – Rahmir Stewart 24 run (run failed), 4:33
IC – Stewart 4 run (run failed), 11:53
IC – RJ Atkinson 32 pass from Mikal Davis (Corey Downing run), 2:37
IC – Jabree Wallace-Coleman 41 run (Davis run), 10:05
IC – Sybree Williams-Rockeymore 1 run (Will Robinson run), 9:31
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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