Call this showdown weekend in Southeastern Pennsylvania football.
No. 2 Downingtown West plays No. 5 Downingtown East in another “Battle of the Brandywine,” this one between two undefeated teams in the top five of the rankings.
No. 9 North Penn plays unbeaten Souderton.
No. 8 Imhotep Charter plays new No. 10 Northeast.
Once-beaten West Chester East plays unbeaten Kennett.
Undefeated Plymouth Whitemarsh plays one-loss Cheltenham.
Next week’s Top 10 likely will be shaken as well as stirred. Here’s this week’s, with previous rankings in parentheses:
1. St. Joseph’s Prep (1) 2-2: The Hawks have separated from their local competition. That was clear in the first half of Saturday night’s 44-13 win over No. 3 La Salle. Five possessions, five touchdowns, with the Hawks moving the football with seeming ease against a proud and powerful Explorers’ defense. Telltale play: Facing a third-and-18 late in the first half, the Prep ran a draw and senior Kolbe Burrell gained 19, leading to another score and a 35-0 advantage at the break. The Hawks have won 29 in a row against Philadelphia-area foes, dating to the last game of the 2015 season. Exactly one of those games (a 53-49 win over Coatesville in the state semifinals in 2017) was closer than 10 points. The Prep is home Friday vs. Roman Catholic.
2. Downingtown West (2) 6-0: Will Howard threw three touchdown passes and Tyriq Lewis ran for three scores as the Whippets beat Bishop Shanahan 42-7 in their last tune-up before meeting Downingtown East this Friday at Kottmeyer Stadium. The last time these rivals played when both teams were undefeated was in 2015, when an estimated 8,000 spectators witnessed East’s 20-14 victory.
3. La Salle (3) 4-1: The key for the Explorers is not allowing Saturday night to damage their spirit. La Salle is an excellent football team (just ask North Penn) and could earn another shot at St. Joseph’s Prep in the Catholic League playoffs. La Salle is home Friday vs. Father Judge.
4. Coatesville (4) 4-1: Freshman left-hander Harrison Susi replaced injured senior star Ricky Ortega at quarterback and helped the Red Raiders to a 36-7 win over West Chester Rustin. Susi was 8-for-13 passing and also ran for 65 yards. One of his completions was a touchdown toss to senior Dapree Bryant, who set the Southeastern Pa. record for career scoring receptions with No. 44. Coatesville coach Matt Ortega, Ricky’s father, could opt to rest his son again Friday vs. Avon Grove as the Red Raiders have huge games ahead in October vs. Downingtown West and Downingtown East.
5. Downingtown East (5) 6-0: Luke Connolly caught a pair of touchdown passes and Stanley Bryant ran for two scores as the Cougars rolled to a 42-3 win over Avon Grove. Senior standout Spencer Uggla ran for 62 yards on nine carries and also caught a touchdown pass as Downingtown East set the stage for Friday night’s showdown with Downingtown West.
6. Neumann-Goretti (7) 6-0: Another win, another shutout. The Saints beat Bishop McDevitt, 44-0, in a Catholic League Blue Division game on Saturday night. Neumann-Goretti has registered three shutouts and allowed a total of 29 points. The Saints meet Archbishop Carroll on Saturday night at the Germantown Supersite.
7. Episcopal Academy (8) 4-0: The Churchmen were off last weekend. They visit Delaware power Salesianum on Friday night before starting what should be some fiercely competitive Inter-Ac League action Oct. 12 at unbeaten Penn Charter.
8. Imhotep Charter (9) 3-3: The Panthers have won three in a row after an 0-3 start against strong competition. They visit Northeast on Friday in a clash of what probably are the two best teams in the Public League.
9. North Penn (10) 5-1: North Penn has turned to a freshman quarterback to replace an injured senior. Stepping in for Kolby Barrow, ninth grader Ryan Zeltt passed for 196 yards and three touchdowns in a 36-0 win over Council Rock South. Kenneth Gandy caught a pair of Zeltt’s scoring passes. North Penn is home Friday night vs. Souderton in a key Suburban One League Continental Division clash.
10. Northeast (NR) 5-1: The Vikings jump back in the Top 10 on the strength of consecutive victories, including Thursday night’s 30-6 triumph over Simon Gratz. Northeast has benefited from the return of quarterback Charles Britt, who was granted a fifth year of eligibility in a PIAA hearing Sept. 19. The Vikings’ defense is one of Southeastern Pa.’s most imposing and features junior end Elijah Jeudy, who recently picked up an Alabama offer. There will be no shortage of NCAA Division I talent on the field when Northeast hosts Imhotep Charter on Friday night.