Southeastern Pennsylvania Top 10

Week of Sept. 21, 2012

1. St. Joseph’s Prep (Record: 3-0. Previous Week: 5. Weeks Rated: 2.)
2. La Salle (Record: 3-0. Previous Week: 2. Weeks Rated: 4.)
3. Downingtown East (Record: 3-0. Previous Week: 1. Weeks Rated: 4.)
4. Archbishop Wood (Record: 2-1. Previous Week: 4. Weeks Rated: 4.)
5. North Penn (Record: 1-2. Previous Week: 3. Weeks Rated: 4.)
6. Imhotep Charter (Record: 3-0. Previous Week: 7. Weeks Rated: 4.)
7. Roman Catholic (Record: 2-1. Previous Week: 8. Weeks Rated: 4.)
8. Central Bucks South (Record: 3-0. Previous Week: 9. Weeks Rated: 3.)
9. Garnet Valley (Record: 3-0. Previous Week: 10. Weeks Rated: 3.)
10. Souderton (Record: 2-1. Previous Week: NR. Weeks Rated: 1.)

By Joseph Santoliquito

PHILADELPHIA, Pa. (CBS) — Episcopal Academy coach Todd Fairlie held a secret back in August. In his second year at the Inter-Academic League school, Fairlie had some big aspirations about this season but wasn’t exactly ready to explode with what those plans were and just how good his team was.

Who could blame him? Fairlie’s team finished 3-7 overall last year with a young squad ravaged by injuries. How much could be expected?

The Churchmen have answered that with a 3-0 start, having outscored their opponents 134-0. That speaks volumes. It’s the first time Episcopal has had three-straight shutouts since 1963, and first time they started 3-0 since beginning 2008 with a 5-0 start.

But Fairlie, along with a senior core group that includes quarterback Adam Strouss, a Penn commit, running back/defensive back Ian Strain and senior lineman Jack Florio, have larger ideas in mind.

Episcopal has been an Inter-Ac doormat for some time. This version of the Churchmen aim to make a culture change by winning their first league crown since 2004, when they shared it with Germantown Academy and Penn Charter, and bigger goal to win their first outright Inter-Ac title since 1982.

“We know the history,” said Strouss, who’s done well in new offensive coordinator Dave Gueriera’s spread system. “This is the start of a great thing at Episcopal. We’re remaining humble and working hard. We’re not tolerating talk about being so good and winning the Inter-Ac. It’s why I think we’re a team with a chip on our shoulders. We’re very aware of our reputation and we know one loss, one bad game, and we’re right back there. I think all the guys understand that.”

Fairlie isn’t willing to be content, either, nor is he willing to let his team’s collective heads swell. “These guys know we’re one bad outing from being right back where we were,” he said. “It’s why we’re not looking too far ahead. We do talk about the opportunity that we have here, though. A few years ago, we never thought we could do something like this. But I’m going to be honest, we did expect to do good things this year. The challenge comes each week with playing at the level we expect.”

For Strain, who’s committed to nationally ranked Lehigh for lacrosse, he has a deeper personal investment into this season.
It’s the last year he’ll be playing organized football. He’d like to go out with some history in his pocket.

“I’ve been playing football since I was four or five years old, and it’s probably my favorite sport,” Strain said. “This is it for me and I’m trying to take it week by week. It’s not easy, and I know it won’t be playing that last game. The first few years have been hard here, and we want to bring back tradition. It would be a great feeling to walk off the field the last time being Inter-Ac champs.”

This is what stands in the Churchmen’s way, dates with Penn Charter on October 12 to open the Inter-Ac season, at Malvern Prep under the lights on October 26 and the season finale against rival Haverford School on November 10.

Tonka Tough. Harriton senior Eric Korn is everything good about high school football. He’s listed at 5-foot-6, 160 pounds, but may be more like 5-5 and 155 pounds. Still, that didn’t stop him from making 10 tackles at outside linebacker and scoring a touchdown on 170 yards rushing in Harriton’s 21-20 victory over Radnor last Friday night.

“Eric and Matt Williamson, two of my team captains, are probably two of the toughest kids I’ve ever coached,” Harriton coach Matt Barr said. “Eric most of the time is the smallest kid on the field, but you wouldn’t know it by the way he plays. He never takes a play off and even jumps in on every rep with the scout team. I have to pull him off the field.”

Game of the Week

La Salle (3-0) at Malvern Prep (2-1), 2 p.m. Saturday: This promises to be a fantastic game between two hard-hitting teams. La Salle is arguably the best team in Southeastern Pennsylvania, and the only thing denying the Explorers that lofty post is strength of schedule, with the edge going to undefeated St. Joseph’s Prep, La Salle’s rival that will be settled on October 13.

La Salle smoked a good Cardinal O’Hara team, 38-6, last weekend with 298 yards of total offense and paced by two Sean Coleman touchdowns.

Malvern Prep won its last two games, ripping through overmatched Archbishop Carroll 42-7 after beating talented Coatesville 19-14.

Prediction: La Salle 42, Malvern Prep 27