HERSHEY -- Imhotep Charter came up empty in its bid to reverse back-to-back state championship game losses to District 10’s Erie’s Cathedral Prep.
The Panthers struggled mightily to slow running back Billy Lucas and fell to the Ramblers, 38-7, in Thursday night’s PIAA Class 4A final at chilly HersheyPark Stadium.
The 6-foot, 205-pound senior carried 40 times for 287 yards and three touchdowns as Cathedral Prep knocked off Imhotep in the title game for the third straight season.
Lucas broke the record for most rushing yards in a state final. He has scholarship offers from Bowling Green, Duquesne, and Old Dominion
He eclipsed the old mark of 251 set by Parkland’s Austin Scott in the Trojans’ 34-12 triumph over District 7’s Woodland Hills in 2002. Scott went on to play at Penn State.
“He’s a real talented kid, played very well,” Imhotep second-year coach Nick Lincoln said. “He has a great ability find the open hole.”
A 40-3 victor over the Ramblers (13-3) in the 2015 Class 3A final, the Panthers (11-3) arrived looking to even the head-to-head championship series at 2-2.
“We knew they were psyched up to get back on top,” said Lucas, “but we were determined not to let that happen.”
In 13 games this season, Lucas rushed 256 times for 2,085 yards and 26 scores.
Cathedral Prep, which totaled 377 rushing yards on 58 attempts, took the lead late in the first quarter on Lucas’ 56-yard jaunt.
Imhotep immediately responded with a 16-play, 99-yard series that was capped by wideout D’Shaun Seal’s 19-yard speed sweep into the end zone.
“We thought that was going to give us a boost and get us going,” Lincoln said. “But we didn’t make any big plays after that.”
The Ramblers soon regained the lead when QB Regan Schleicher faked a handoff and went around right end for an 8-yard TD. Colin Kelly’s 30-yard field goal 15 seconds before intermission made it 17-7.
Continuing to dominate up front on offense, Cathedral Prep added three more rushing scores in the second half. Lucas’ second and third TD runs came on runs of 1 and 8 yards.
Imhotep rushed 33 times for 152 times. Senior multipurpose standout and West Virginia recruit Tykee Smith, who declined to talk after the lopsided defeat, managed 60 yards on 15 attempts.
“Hopefully, our young guys can learn from this and work hard to get to the next level,” Lincoln said. ‘Maybe we’ll be blessed enough to play Cathedral Prep for a fifth time next year.”
Imhotep Charter 0 7 0 0 - 7
Cathedral Prep 7 10 14 7 - 38
CP: Billy Lucas 56 run (Colin Kelly kick)
IC: D’Shaun Seals 19 run (Anthony Gordon kick)
CP: Regan Schleicher 15 run (Kelly kick)
CP: FG Kelly 30
CP: Schleicher 2 run (Kelly kick)
CP Lucas 1 run (Kelly kick)