Central Bucks West entered the Top 10 last week. Now the Bucks are on the rise.
And they aren’t the only team with some upward momentum.
Downingtown East, Northeast and C.B. West all advanced in the rankings after Week 8 as the regular season nears a close and teams jostle in division races and battle for favorable playoff seeds.
With two weeks left before the start of the postseason, here’s the new Top 10 for Southeastern Pennsylvania, with last week’s ranking in parentheses:
1. St. Joseph’s Prep (1) 4-2: Anthony Rightley grabbed a touchdown pass and Anthony Leneghan returned an interception for a score as the Hawks handled rival Archbishop Wood, 42-21, at Widener. Kolbe Burrell ran for 96 yards and Kyle McCord passed for 208 yards and three scores for the Prep, which has scored 130 points in three games against Philadelphia Catholic League foes. The Prep visits Father Judge on Friday.
2. Downingtown West (2) 8-0: Tyriq Lewis ran for 235 yards and three touchdowns in the Whippets’ 50-27 win over West Chester East. Downingtown West is averaging 46 points for the season, and 52.7 points over the last four weeks. Versatile senior Alex Rosano has been a playmaker for the Whippets, who host No. 4 Coatesville in what looms as a high-scoring showdown on Friday.
3. La Salle (3) 6-1: Dynamic freshman Mao Howell returned a kickoff for a touchdown and caught a scoring pass in a 49-0 win over Archbishop Ryan. Brad Vespe caught a pair of touchdown passes and Jack Machita threw for two scores for the Explorers, who have scored 98 points in two victories since a Sept. 28 loss to St. Joseph’s Prep. La Salle plays PCL Red rival Archbishop Wood at William Tennent on Friday.
4. Coatesville (4) 6-1: The Red Raiders are rounding into shape, thanks to the return to health of senior quarterback Ricky Ortega, a Villanova recruit. Ortega, who was hampered through the early part of the season with a lower-leg injury, threw three touchdown passes to Dapree Bryant in a 41-17 win over Bishop Shanahan. Over-under on the final score for Coatesville at No. 2 Downingtown on Friday: 85.
5. Neumann-Goretti (5) 8-0: Marqui Adams threw a pair of touchdown passes and Tysheem Johnson caught a pair of scoring receptions and also took a punt to the house in a 46-0 win over Cardinal O’Hara. The Saints have outscored their last three opponents by a cumulative 154-20. Neumann-Goretti hosts West Catholic in a PCL Blue game on Friday.
6. Episcopal Academy (6) 6-0: The Churchmen seemed in serious trouble down 17-7 when Penn Charter’s defense held them on four tries from inside the 5-yard line Saturday in the Inter-Ac League opener. But quarterback Maurcus McDaniel led a furious rally, culminating with a 14-yard touchdown pass to Malcolm Folk with 0:32 left for a dramatic 21-17 victory. Senior running back/linebacker Matt Bush has been an unsung hero for the Churchmen, who visit Springside Chestnut Hill on Saturday night.
7. Downingtown East (8) 7-1: Matt McDevitt scored on a pick-six as the Cougars bounced back from a tough loss to Downingtown West with a 35-7 win over West Chester Henderson. Downingtown East visits Bishop Shanahan on Friday, then hosts Coatesville on Oct. 25 in a game loaded with District 1 Class 6A playoff implications.
8. Northeast (9) 7-1: The Vikings posted their fourth shutout in a 41-0 victory over old rival Central. Jon-Luke Peaker ran for 67 yards and a score and Will Lawrence ran for 45 yards and a score on just four carries. Northeast is home vs. Bartram on Friday.
9. Central Bucks West (10) 8-0: The Bucks have created an identity: They are team with a small roster (41 players) and an old-school offense (Delaware Wing-T) that relies on grit and gumption as much as talent. Nothing summed up this team better than Jack Fallon’s catch-and-run on third-and-11 late in the fourth quarter of the landmark 27-26 win over North Penn. Central Bucks West plays at dangerous Souderton on Friday with a chance to capture sole possession of the SOL Continental.
10. North Penn (7) 6-2: There were times Friday night when the Knights appeared on the verge of taking command of the game vs. C.B. West. Then they fumbled. Then they fumbled again. This is strong and sturdy team with some talented, inconsistent youngsters in key spots. Coach Dick Beck lamented the mistakes after his team’s first conference loss in 31 games. North Penn visits C.B. South on Friday.
Under consideration (listed alphabetically): Abington (7-1), Academy Park (7-1), Cheltenham (7-1), Malvern Prep (2-4), Penn Charter (5-1), Pope John Paul II (7-1), Garnet Valley (7-1), Imhotep Charter (4-4), Souderton (7-1), West Chester East (6-2).