1. Coatesville (Record: 2-0. Weeks Rated: 3.)
2. Archbishop Wood (Record: 2-0. Weeks Rated: 3.)
3. Imhotep Charter (Record: 2-0. Weeks Rated: 3.)
4. St. Joseph’s Prep (Record: 1-1. Weeks Rated: 3.)
5. Neshaminy (Record: 2-0. Weeks Rated: 3.)
6. Pennridge (Record: 2-0. Weeks Rated: 3.)
7. La Salle (Record: 1-1. Weeks Rated: 3.)
8. Downingtown East (Record: 2-0. Weeks Rated: 2.)
9. Council Rock North (Record: 2-0. Weeks Rated: 2.)
10. Episcopal Academy (Record: 2-0. Weeks Rated: 1.)
By Joseph Santoliquito
Philadelphia, PA (CBS) — Albie Crosby would like to hit the delete button in his memory and forget what happened nine months ago. And the Imhotep Charter coach has, for the most part. Crosby can’t remember the score, but he can recall his Panthers losing to Wyomissing in the PIAA Class AA state semifinals.
The stain of the powerful 35-13 setback still remains. It’s been stirring for some time with Crosby and not only has motivated the Panthers’ second-year head coach, but his it’s been a hammer for his team, too.
It’s a good gravity pull for heady times like now.
Imhotep is 2-0 after pulling off a surprising—and impressive—after a 40-28 victory over defending five-time Catholic League champion La Salle and opening the season by ripping through Cardinal Mooney (Ohio), 49-21.
The Panthers are a loaded team, a team far better than any other Class AA team in Southeastern Pennsylvania and probably the state. Crosby’s main focus is keeping his team’s feet firmly planted on the ground.
“I think our mission is pretty much staying focused and trying to win football games,” Crosby said. “The Wyomissing loss in the state playoffs really helped us a lot. When I first came here, it was trying to make the kids believe we can win, and once we got on that winning streak, we believed we couldn’t lose. But we wanted to improve our schedule with Cardinal Mooney and La Salle.
“Keeping the kids humble is a priority, too. Our kids look at it that we still don’t get any respect. That may be hard to believe, but they do think that. One of the things we talk about is being your brother’s keeper. Get as many kids involved as possible. It is a goal to win the state championship. It’s a dream, but there are steps to make it a reality. We know we have to get out of the city first. West Catholic is good again.
And so is Imhotep Charter, with Temple commit Aaron Ruff, 6-foot-5, 295-pound offensive guard, 5-10, junior tailback Nasir Bonner, who rushed for 80 yards and had 70 yards receiving in the La Salle victory, and senior Deandre Scott, arguably the best player in the area who rushed for 105 yards and had an interception against La Salle.
Can any Class AA team in the state beat the Panthers? Probably not.
But Crosby won’t let his team think that way, because he won’t forget last year’s state playoff loss. It’s good gravity.
Game of the week
Caravel Academy at Episcopal Academy, Friday, 7 CT, at Episcopal Academy: The Churchmen have the area’s longest current winning streak, taking a 12-game run into this game against the Delaware state champion. The Churchmen are winning with a rugged ground game and a sturdy defense. They’ll get tested Friday night against visiting Caravel Academy.
Prediction: Episcopal Academy 23, Caravel Academy 16
Joseph Santoliquito is a contributing sports blogger for CBS Philly.