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Southeastern Pennsylvania Football Rankings: Haverford High, Imhotep Charter jump into Top 10

The Fords and Panthers both started the season slowly, going a combined 0-5. But they've come on strong as the weather has turned colder, making their marks in their respective playoff fields.

Trey Blair (No. 10) and Haverford High have won 10 in a row since an 0-2 start.
Trey Blair (No. 10) and Haverford High have won 10 in a row since an 0-2 start.Read moreCHARLES FOX / Staff Photographer

Haverford High started the season with an 0-2 record.

Imhotep Charter opened with an 0-3 mark.

Back when the temperatures were warm, neither team looked like Top 10 material.

But their fortunes have changed with the weather.

Haverford and Imhotep Charter are a combined 10-1 in October and November, including a 4-0 mark in the playoffs. The Fords and Panthers jump into the Southeastern Pennsylvania football rankings this week.

Haverford, which has won 10 in a row, scored one of the most significant victories in program history with a 35-12 triumph over previously third-ranked Downingtown East in the District One Class 6A quarterfinals.

Imhotep won its fourth in a row and seventh in the last eight games, earning another Public League 4A title with a 40-6 victory over Bartram.

Here’s the new Top 10, with last week’s ranking in parentheses:

1. St. Joseph’s Prep (1) 8-2: The Hawks finished Catholic League competition for this season with a tour de force, building a 45-0 halftime lead over La Salle en route to a 52-7 victory in the Class 6A title game Saturday night at the Germantown Supersite. Future Ohio State teammates Kyle McCord and Marvin Harrison Jr. combined for four touchdown passes, covering 81, 64, 48 and 10 yards. St. Joseph’s Prep has won seven in a row and is riding a 35-game winning streak over Philadelphia-area opponents since the start of the 2016 season. The Prep meets Public League champion Northeast on Friday in the city 6A title game.

2. Downingtown West (2) 11-1: Tyriq Lewis ran for 226 yards and four touchdowns as the Whippets prevailed in a fierce battle with old nemesis North Penn by a 40-31 score in the District One Class 6A quarterfinals. Julian Williams’ kickoff return for touchdown was another big play as Downingtown West beat North Penn for the first time in program history, avenging a loss in the 2018 semifinals. The Whippets, who are averaging 48.2 points, host Haverford in the district semifinals on Friday night.

3. Coatesville (4) 8-2: Surprise, surprise. The Red Raiders and senior stars Ricky Ortega and Dapree Bryant are known for their explosive passing attack. But they hugged the ground on a frigid Friday night as the Villanova-bound duo combined for nearly 300 rushing yards in a 41-24 win over Central Bucks West in the District One Class 6A quarterfinals. Ortega dazzled on keepers, draws, and scrambles, running for three touchdowns and 131 yards. Bryant operated out of the Wildcat and sometimes lined up as a traditional running back on his way to 167 yards and a game-change 69-yard touchdown. Coatesville, the two-time district champion, visits Garnet Valley in Friday night’s semifinals.

4. Episcopal Academy (6) 9-1: The Churchmen finished a fabulous season and captured the Inter-Ac league crown with a 38-28 victory over Haverford School on Saturday. Senior quarterback Maurcus McDaniel closed out his career in fitting fashion, rushing for three touchdowns in the first half and completing 9 of 12 passes for 143 yards. Malcolm Folk (93) and Matt Bush (84) added nearly 200 more rushing yards for Episcopal Academy, which was a one-point, controversial overtime loss to Germantown Academy away from the program’s first perfect season since 2012.

5. Northeast (7) 11-1: Keino Salmon and Tyrece Mills returned interceptions for touchdowns as the Vikings’ winning streak reached eight games on the way to capturing the Public League 6A title with a 41-0 victory over Olney. Since a Week 3 loss to Episcopal Academy, the Vikings have outscored opponents by a combined 272-18 with five shutouts. Northeast gets another shot at Goliath, meeting No. 1 St. Joseph’s Prep in the city 6A title game on Friday night.

6. Garnet Valley (9) 11-1: The Jaguars ran their winning streak to 11 as Greg Reynolds rushed for five touchdowns in a 56-21 victory over Plymouth-Whitemarsh in the District One Class 6A quarterfinals. Opening behind a dominant offensive line, Reynolds needed just nine carries to generate 220 yards, reaching the end zone on runs of 53, 44, 20, 58, and 31 yards. Garnet Valley hosts Coatesville in the district semifinals on Friday.

7. Archbishop Wood (10) 7-3: Dom D’Alessio returned a fumble for a score and Nathan Taylor took an interception to the house as the Vikings captured the Catholic League 5A title with a 44-15 win over Archbishop Ryan in the first game of a doubleheader Saturday at the Germantown Supersite. A blocked punt and safety added to the defensive dominance by Archbishop Wood, which has won three in a row and four of five, with the lone loss to St. Joseph’s Prep. The Vikings will meet Public League champion Martin Luther King in the city 5A title game.

8. Haverford High (NR) 10-2: The Fords’ defense sometimes gets overshadowed by the spectacular play of quarterback Trey Blair, who worked his magic in the first half but sat out most of the second half of the victory over Downingtown East with an injury. But linebackers Will Higson, Brian Klee, Aiden O’Neill, and Sean Reynolds were key to the upset of Downingtown East and have set the tone for this team’s remarkable rise this season. Haverford has allowed just 70 points in its 10-game winning streak, with four shutouts. The Fords’ defense faces its biggest challenge Friday in the District One Class 6A semifinals at Downingtown West.

9. Imhotep Charter (NR) 7-4: Quarterback Jalen Sutton-Christian passed for 150 yards and two touchdowns as the Panthers beat Bartram, 40-6, for the Public League 4A title. Imhotep Charter’s defense dominated the line of scrimmage, holding Bartram to minus-35 rushing yards. The Panthers’ lone loss in the last eight games was a 8-6 setback to Public League 6A champion Northeast in a slugfest. Imhotep meets Bonner-Prendegast in the city 4A title game Friday night.

10. Downingtown East (3) 9-2: The Cougars’ 35-12 loss to Haverford was the end of the line for a special senior class. Downingtown East earned a share of the Ches-Mont League National title and handed Coatesville its first conference loss since 2015 in the highlight of a strong season under coach Mike Matta.

Under consideration (listed alphabetically): Academy Park (10-2), Bonner-Prendergast (9-1), Central Bucks West (10-2), Cheltenham (11-1), Germantown Academy (7-2), Kennett (11-1), La Salle (8-3), Neumann-Goretti (11-1) North Penn (8-4), Plymouth-Whitemarsh (9-2), Pope John Paul II (10-2), West Chester East (9-3), West Chester Rustin (9-3).