Sports

A Number Of Area High Schools Could Win State Titles This Year

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(credit: Joseph Santoliquito)

(credit: Joseph Santoliquito)

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By Joseph Santoliquito 

PHILADELPHIA, PA (CBS)— The Philadelphia area, long known for its rich basketball tradition, is sometimes bypassed when it comes to football talent in comparison to the other side of the state.

But recently over the last five years, a team from the Philadelphia area has played in the PIAA Class AAAA (the large school), and in two of the last five years, a Philadelphia-area school has won the state championship.

This year, there could be three schools that play deep into December—and four area schools that have the caliber of talent to be state champions.

As this weekend kicks off the high school season, defending Class AAAA state champion St. Joe’s Prep appears to be the odds-on favorite as the No. 1 team in the state, and not that far behind are Class AAA state champion Archbishop Wood and Class AA runner-up Imhotep Charter, which is moving up to Class AAA this season.

A team that also needs to be included in that mix is Inter-Academic League powerhouse Malvern Prep, which is the favorite in its league and one of the better teams in the state. The Friars, however, cannot compete for a state title since the Inter-Ac is one of the few sports leagues in the state not affiliated with the PIAA, the state’s high school governing body.

“I get a little tired of people looking at [the Philadelphia] area and thinking it isn’t deep in football talent,” St. Joseph’s Prep coach Gabe Infante said in early August. “Look at the Philadelphia Catholic League, with Wood, [Archbishop] Ryan, which beat two state champions last year, us and Wood, and didn’t make the league playoffs. That has to say something about the caliber of football in this area. La Salle is good every year and teams like Roman, Judge, Bonner could beat any team in the state.

“Then you have teams like Imhotep, North Penn, [Malvern’s new coach] Aaron Brady is going to do some great things there, and they’re good enough to win a state championship. This is a great football area and it’s only going to get better.”

The area has produced 15 state champions. If there is an area that exceeds all others in football tradition, it’s Buck County with seven state championships. Montgomery County follows with three, followed by Delaware County and Philadelphia, with two each. Chester County has one state title.

Ridley was the first team to ever represent the Philadelphia area in the state finals, appearing in the 1990 Class AAAA state championship. Central Bucks West was the first area team to win a state crown, taking the first of four Class AAAA titles in 1991 under legendary coach Mike Pettine, the father of Cleveland Browns’ head coach Mike Pettine Jr.

Here is a breakdown of area PIAA state football champions:

Bucks County (7)
Central Bucks West (4)
Archbishop Wood (2)
Neshaminy (1)

Montgomery County (3)
North Penn (1)
Lansdale Catholic (1)
La Salle (1)

Delaware County (2)
Strath Haven (2)

Philadelphia (2)
St. Joseph’s Prep (1)
West Catholic (1)

Chester County (1)
Downingtown (1)

Here is a listing of past PIAA state champions. The districts that they represented are in parenthesis. Philadelphia-area schools are from District 1 (Bucks, Chester, Delaware and Montgomery Counties) and District 12 (Philadelphia Catholic and Public Leagues).

2013 
AAAA: St. Joseph’s Prep (12) 35-10 Pittsburgh Central Catholic (7)
AAA: Archbishop Wood (12) 22-10 Bishop McDevitt (3)
AA: South Fayette (7) 41-0 Imhotep Charter (12)
A: Pittsburgh North Catholic (7) 15-14 (OT) Old Forge (2)

2012 
AAAA: North Allegheny (7) 63-28 Coatesville (1)
AAA: Cathedral Prep (10) 24-14 Archbishop Wood (12)
AA: Wyomissing Area (3) 17-14 Aliquippa (7)
A: Clairton (7) 20-0 Dunmore (2)

2011 
AAAA: Central Dauphin (3) 14-7 North Penn (1)
AAA: Archbishop Wood (12) 52-0 Bishop McDevitt (3)
AA: Lancaster Catholic (3) 17-7 Tyrone (6)
A: Clairton (7) 35-19 Southern Columbia (4)

2010 
AAAA: North Allegheny (7) 21-0 La Salle (12)
AAA: Allentown Central Catholic (11) 28-27 Bishop McDevitt (3)
AA: West Catholic (12) 50-14 South Fayette (7)
A: Clairton (7) 36-30 Riverside (2)

2009 
AAAA: La Salle (12) 24-7 State College (6)
AAA: Selinsgrove (4) 10-7 Manheim Central (3)
AA: Lancaster Catholic (3) 21-14 Greensburg Central Catholic (7)
A: Clairton (7) 15-3 Bishop McCort (6)

2008 
AAAA: Bethlehem Liberty (11) 28-21 (OT) Bethel Park (7)
AAA: Thomas Jefferson (7) 34-7 Archbishop Wood (12)
AA: Wilmington Area (10) 35-24 (2OT) West Catholic (12)
A: Steelton-Highspire (3) 35-16 Clairton (7)

2007 
AAAA: Pittsburgh Central Catholic (7) 21-0 Parkland (11)
AAA: Thomas Jefferson (7) 28-3 Garnet Valley (1)
AA: Jeannette (7) 49-21 Dunmore (2)
A: Steelton-Highspire (3) 34-15 Serra Catholic (7)

2006 
AAAA: Upper Saint Clair (7) 47-13 Bethlehem Liberty (11)
AAA: General McLane (10) 28-23 Pottsville (11)
AA: Wilson Area (11) 29-28 Jeannette (7)
A: Southern Columbia (4) 56-14 West Middlesex (10)

2005 
AAAA: McKeesport Area (7) 49-14 Bethlehem Liberty (11)
AAA: Franklin Regional (7) 23-13 Pottsville (11)
AA: South Park (7) 28-17 Wilson Area (11)
A: Southern Columbia (4) 50-19 Duquesne (7)

2004 
AAAA: Pittsburgh Central Catholic (7) 49-14 Neshaminy (1)
AAA: Thomas Jefferson (7) 56-20 Manheim Central (3)
AA: Lansdale Catholic (1) 40-17 Grove City (10)
A: Southern Columbia (4) 35-0 Rochester (7)

2003 
AAAA: North Penn (1) 37-10 Pittsburgh Central Catholic (7)
AAA: Manheim Central (3) 39-38 (OT) Pine-Richland (7)
AA: Aliquippa (7) 32-27 Northern Lehigh (11)
A: Southern Columbia (4) 49-20 Bishop Carroll (6)

2002 
AAAA: Parkland (11) 34-12 Woodland Hills (7)
AAA: Hopewell (7) 21-10 Strath Haven (1)
AA: Mount Carmel Area (4) 18-13 Seton LaSalle (7)
A: Southern Columbia (4) 31-6 Rochester Area (7)

2001 
AAAA: Neshaminy (1) 21-7 Woodland Hills (7)
AAA: West Alleghany (7) 28-13 Strath Haven (1)
AA: Washington (7) 19-12 Pen Argyl (11)
A: Rochester (7) 16-0 Southern Columbia (4)

2000 
AAAA: Erie Cathedral Prep (10) 41-35 (OT) Central Bucks West (1)
AAA: Strath Haven (1) 31-28 West Allegheny (7)
AA: Mount Carmel Area (4) 26-6 Aliquippa (7)
A: Rochester (7) 22-14 Southern Columbia (4)

1999 
AAAA: Central Bucks West (1) 14-13 Erie Cathedral Prep (10)
AAA: Strath Haven (1) 21-7 West Allegheny (7)
AA: Tyrone (6) 13-6 Mount Carmel Area (4)
A: South Side Beaver (7) 27-21 Southern Columbia (4)

1998 
AAAA: Central Bucks West (1) 56-7 New Castle (7)
AAA: Allentown Central Catholic (11) 10-0 Moon Area (7)
AA: Mount Carmel Area (4) 44-7 Shady Side Academy (7)
A: Rochester (7) 18-0 Southern Columbia (4)

1997 
AAAA: Central Bucks West (1) 44-20 Upper St. Clair (7)
AAA: Berwick Area (2) 17-14 Perry Traditional Academy (8)
AA: South Park (7) 20-0 South Williamsport (4)
A: Sharpsville (10) 10-7 Riverside (2)

1996 
AAAA: Downingtown Area (1) 49-14 Woodland Hills (7)
AAA: Berwick Area (2) 34-13 Blackhawk (7)
AA: Mount Carmel Area (4) 25-6 Tyrone Area (6)
A: Farrell (7) 14-12 Southern Columbia (4)

1995 
AAAA: Penn Hills (7) 35-14 Lower Dauphin (3)
AAA: Berwick Area (2) 43-6 Sharon Area (10)
AA: Bishop McDevitt (3) 29-0 Burrell (7)
A: Farrell (7) 6-0 Southern Columbia (4)

1994 
AAAA: McKeesport Area (7) 17-14 Downingtown Area (1)
AAA: Berwick Area (2) 27-7 Sharon Area (10)
AA: Mount Carmel Area (11) 20-14 (OT) Forest Hills (6)
A: Southern Columbia (4) 49-6 Western Beaver (7)

1993 
AAAA: North Hills (7) 15-14 Central Bucks West (1)
AAA: Allentown Central Catholic (11) 40-0 Blackhawk (7)
AA: Dallas (2) 31-7 Washington (7)
A: Duquesne (7) 24-21 South Williamsport (4)

1992 
AAAA: Cumberland Valley (3) 28-12 Upper St. Clair (7)
AAA: Berwick Area (2) 33-6 Blackhawk (7) 33-6
AA: Valley View (2) 21-13 East Allegheny (7)
A: Scotland School (3) 24-7 Smethport Area (9)

1991 
AAAA: Central Bucks West (1) 26-14 Erie Cathedral Prep (10)
AAA: Erie Strong Vincent (10) 29-20 Conestoga Valley (3)
AA: Aliquippa (7) 27-0 Hanover Area (2)
A: Schuylkill Haven (11) 28-18 Rochester Area (7)

1990 
AAAA: North Allegheny (7) 21-14 Ridley (1)
AAA: Bethlehem Catholic (11) 43-7 Seton-LaSalle (7)
AA: Hanover Area (2) 20-19 (OT) Bishop Canevin (7)
A: Marian Catholic (11) 21-13 Farrell (7)

1989 
AAAA: Upper Saint Clair (7) 12-7 Wilson (3)
AAA: Perry Traditional (8) 20-8 Berwick Area (2)
AA: Hickory (10) 30-22 Montoursville Area (4)
A: Dunmore (2) 57-18 Keystone (9)

1988 
AAAA: Pittsburgh Central Catholic (7) 14-7 Cedar Cliff (3)
AAA: Berwick Area (2) 13-0 Aliquippa (7)
AA: Bethlehem Catholic (11) 26-11 Wilmington Area (7)
A: Camp Hill (3) 18-7 Cambridge Springs (10)

 

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