EasternPAFootball.com Notebook: St. Joseph’s Prep’s preparation key to success; William Allen scores big victory; Imhotep in striking distance of PPL record
Preparation is key. And when it comes to preparations, the St. Joseph’s Prep football team leaves nothing to chance. Especially defensively.
The Prep flattened three-time defending District 12 AAAA champion LaSalle College High School, 24-16, Saturday night at Plymouth-Whitemarsh High School, limiting the Explorers’ potent passing offense to just 148 yards and three interceptions. In all, the Hawks forced seven turnovers and held the USA-Today’s former No. 23-ranked team to just 10 first downs, 4.4 yards per pass attempt and 1.4 yards per carry.
It almost seemed like the Prep knew what LaSalle was going to run before they ran it. And that made sophomore defensive back John Reid chuckle.
“A lot of people say that,” Reid said, smiling amidst a throng of Prep tailgaters in the Plymouth-Whitemarsh High School parking lot. “No, (we weren’t nervous about LaSalle), not at all. We did a lot of film study.”
The Hawks, in fact, do more than just watching film once or twice a week.
“During our free periods at school, we watch film,” Reid, who notched two first quarter interceptions of Chris Kane, explained. “Then, at home, we watch more film. Every player on the team has a personal Hudl account so we can all watch film at home, too.”
Literally, the Prep’s defensive leaves nothing to chance, and it showed Saturday night. It allowed only one LaSalle run of 10+ yards and one pass of 20+ yards. LaSalle ran 54 plays for the game, averaging a turnover every 7.6 snaps.
“We wanted to stop their offense,” Reid said. “I think our defense can be very good, but I don’t feel that we’ve played that perfect game yet.”
St. Joe’s Prep replaced LaSalle in the USA-Today Super-25 prep football poll as well. The Hawks are now No. 17 in the nation following their Saturday night victory. The Hawks also own a victory over Cocoa (Fla.), who defeated New Jersey powerhouse Bergen Catholic this past weekend.
A tip of the hat to the William Allen Canaries, who scored their first victory of the 2012 season Saturday, a 26-14 decision over Lehighton. What makes that victory remarkable is that it marks the Canaries’ first victory against an opponent other than Louis Dieruff since 2005. Their most recent non-Dieruff win was a 28-6 triumph over Nazareth in the fifth week of that football season.
At the time, that victory over the Blue Eagles improved the Canaries’ record to 3-2 – also the most recent time Allen enjoyed a winning record in Week 5 of a season or later.
If the Canaries defeat Dieruff later this season, it will mark the program’s first multiple victory season since, you guessed it, 2005, when Allen finished 4-6 overall.
Council Rock North’s Brandon McIlwain is just 24 yards passing shy of 1,000 for the season. That becomes notable for this reason: McIlwain would become the 14th Pennsylvania quarterback to throw for 1,000 or more yards in his freshman season since 2005. McIlwain would become District 1’s first 1,000-yard passer as a freshman in that 2005-present time frame.
Downingtown East head coach Mike Matta was in attendance at Saturday’s Prep-LaSalle game, and I had a chance to chat with Matta and the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Rick O’Brien briefly before the game kicked off. During our chat (where O’Brien literally got zero words in edgewise), I asked Matta about finding a balance offensively with junior running back Riley Angeline stepping up to rush for 154 yards and a pair of touchdowns against St. Marks (Del.) in a Cougar victory in Week 6.
“That was very refreshing,” Matta said of Angeline’s emergence. Angeline, by the way, has posted consecutive 100-yard games on the ground and is now over 600 yards rushing for the season.
Downingtown East meets archrival Downingtown West Friday night. East is undefeated and West is 6-1.
Pennridge junior running back Mike Class needs only five yards rushing Friday night of Week 8 to reach 3,000 for his career. Through seven games of 2012, Class has rushed for 1,483 yards and Pennridge is 6-1 overall.
A huge showdown in District 2 Friday night pits unbeatens Scranton and Delaware Valley. Both the Knights and the Warriors bring to the table very potent offenses – Scranton has scored 43 points or more in five of its seven games and Delaware Valley is averaging 42.6 points per game.
Imhotep Charter has already scored 318 points through seven games, an impressive total, and the Panthers more than likely will soon eclipse the Philadelphia Public League record for points scored in a single season.
That distinction belongs to the 1997 Frankford Pioneers, who scored 457 points. Imhotep is just 139 points shy of the Pioneers’ standard, and, at its average of 45.4 points per game, the Panthers are on track to match Frankford’s mark in three games.
The Philadelphia Public League and PIAA’s District 5 are the only two leagues/regions which have never produced a team which scored 500 points or more in a season.
York Catholic senior James Dougherty surpassed the 4,000-yard passing mark for his career last weekend. Dougherty, who is up to 4,053 yards, is the first career 4,000-yard passer in Fighting Irish program history.
Follow Josh Funk on Twitter @Funk_pafb.
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