By Joseph Santoliquito
Philadelphia, PA (CBS)—The coaches can put as much coachspeak as they want to it. How it’s going to be a “competitive game,” and how “good” the other team is supposed to be. The numbers look gaudy, too, from afar with things like averaging 45.2 points a game, averaging over 300 yards passing per game and being undefeated.
But the truth of the matter is, South Fayette (15-0 overall) is going to get stomped on by Imhotep Charter in the PIAA Class AA championship at 12-noon on Saturday at Hersheypark Stadium.
It will stop being a “competitive game” seconds after the opening kickoff and South Fayette is actually a very “good” Class AA team. The problem Imhotep Charter poses is that the Panthers are an excellent team at any level.
The Panthers (12-2 overall) are capable of beating any of the eight teams playing this state championship weekend at Hersheypark Stadium. They’re that good. Imhotep coach Albie Crosby made sure of that when he scheduled games against local Class AAAA powers like La Salle.
It’s prepared the Panthers to smash through everyone. In its five playoff victories, Imhotep Charter has amassed 223 points and surrendered just 22, outscoring opponents by an average of 44.6 to 4.4 a game (during the playoffs. The Panthers sat their starters in s 32-30 Thanksgiving Day to Martin Luther King).
The Lions will counter with a very good quarterback, junior Brett Brumbaugh, who’s thrown for 3,611 yards and 38 touchdowns with only eight interceptions. Brumbaugh’s single-season passing total is ninth all-time in the state (according to pafootballnews.com).
But will Brumbaugh have time to throw?
The Lions are averaging 302.3 yards passing a game (according to pafootballnews.com).
The Panthers are big (Offensive line: Taleem Muhammad (6-foot-6, 298 pounds; Antoine Williams 6-3, 279; Gordon Thomas 6-0, 305; Johncarlo Valentin 6-4, 285; and Temple-bound Aaron Ruff 6-5, 280) and fast (running backs Nasir Bonner, Mike Waters and Tyliek Raynor have combined for 2,835 yards and they average a combined 8.3 yards a carry).
What’s more is Imhotep Charter is playing for history, like its Philly-area state finalists Archbishop Wood and St. Joseph’s Prep. In Class AAA, Wood could become the first District 12 multi-state champion. In Class AAAA, The Prep is playing for the first state football title in school history and if the Panthers win the Class AA title, they’ll become the first Philadelphia Public League football team to win a state champion since “The Pub” joined the PIAA, the state governing body of Pennsylvania high school sports, in 2004.
Prediction: Imhotep Charter 50, South Fayette 6
Joseph Santoliquito is a contributing sports blogger for CBS Philly.