By Joseph Santoliquito

PHILADELPHIA, PA (CBS) — Archbishop Wood and Imhotep Charter are two of the better football teams in Southeastern Pennsylvania—and easily two of the best teams in the state. The local powerhouses are a combined 20-2 overall and have dominated each of their leagues, Wood in the Philadelphia Catholic League Class AAA, and Imhotep in the Philadelphia Public League Class AAA.

Yet, both teams will enter Saturday’s District 12 Class AAA (the Philadelphia City Championship) with considerable chips on their shoulders when they meet at 3:30 p.m. at Northeast’s Charles Martin Memorial Stadium.

It says this game is for the District 12 championship. It’s really for the PIAA Class AAA state championship, because whichever team wins this titanic game will be the odds-on favorite to win the state championship.

Those are the stakes involved.

Wood, 10-1 and ranked No. 2 in the area by, is still seething over its one loss this season, 35-31 to La Salle on Oct. 3. No. 3-ranked Imhotep is still hot from last year’s 41-0 PIAA Class AA state title loss to South Fayette.

According to The Inquirer, “since the Catholic League joined the PIAA in 2008, the Vikings have claimed six straight District 12 titles by a combined score of 292-56. Their closest margin of victory was 49-28 over Bok in 2012.”

But it’s the La Salle loss that lingers for Wood. Adding gas to that fire is the social media flotsam being bandied about by and from supporters of both teams on message boards and the like.

“We are getting ready to snap as a team, a lot of people are doubting us and talking trash and it doesn’t help that we lost to La Salle,” said Wood star linebacker and Penn State-bound Jake Cooper, who’s someone you don’t want to anger. “We’ve been waiting for this game for a very long time. Imhotep is a great opponent. They’re a very good team and they look great on film. It’s going to be an awesome game.

“There is a lot of trash being said and mark my words, on Saturday, a new beast is going to wake up. No one has seen the best of Wood yet. Not at all. There is a whole other team that is forming right now. You can say it’s like we’re in the boats hitting the beaches and we’re ready to attack. This is a great opportunity to play a great team. We know that Imhotep is a dangerous team. Imhotep is playing well and we know they’re playing with a chip on their shoulders, too. They have a great, talented team. It’s going to be a challenge that I’m looking forward to.”

On the other side is Imhotep, who no one seems to be giving a chance. They’re making a grave mistake. After the state title, the Panthers received a lot of comments like, “They’re a typical ‘Pub Team,’” which obviously didn’t sit well with Imhotep. The Panthers left Hershey Park Stadium embarrassed by the state title loss last December and to a man vowed it wouldn’t happen again.

“We won’t be embarrassed again,” said Imhotep’s 6-foot-4, 320-pound sophomore guard Johncarlo Valentin, someone else it’s not too good to anger. “We’re not underestimating Archbishop Wood. They’re a great team. They have great players, great coaches. I think we get angry when we feel that we’re the ones being underestimated. I can tell you there are a lot of people that are [underestimating Imhotep]. This game means a lot to us and I’m sure it means a lot to them. We need to focus on what we have to do and focus on ourselves. It’s going to be a great game.”


CBS Philly’s Area Top 10 Power Ratings For Nov. 21, 2014

1. St. Joseph’s Prep (Record: 7-3)
2. Archbishop Wood (Record: 10-1)
3. St. Joseph’s (Hammonton, NJ) (Record: 9-0)
4. Shawnee (Record: 9-0)
5. Imhotep Charter (Record: 10-1)
6. Timber Creek (Record: 9-0)
7. La Salle (Record: 8-3)
8. Coatesville (Record: 12-0)
9. Haverford School (Record: 9-1)
10. Pennsbury (Record: 11-1)


Southeastern PA Top 10 Power Ratings For Nov. 21, 2014

1. St. Joseph’s Prep (Record: 7-3)
2. Archbishop Wood (Record: 10-1)
3. Imhotep Charter (Record: 10-1)
4. Coatesville (Record: 12-0)
5. Haverford School (Record: 9-1)
6. Pennsbury (Record: 11-1)
7. La Salle (Record: 8-3)
8. Upper Dublin (Record: 10-1)
9. Ben Franklin (Record: 10-0)
10. Springfield-Delco (Record: 12-0)


District 1 Predictions

Class AAAA

No. 1 Coatesville (12-0) vs. No. 5 Downingtown East (7-4)
The pick: Coatesville

No. 2 Pennsbury (11-1) vs. No. 6 Upper Dublin (11-1)
The pick: Pennsbury


Class AAA

No. 1 Springfield-Delco (12-0) vs. No. 2 Great Valley (11-1)
The pick: Springfield-Delco


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