SHILLINGTON, Pa. - As the second half kicked off in Saturday's PIAA state Class AA football semifinal at Governor Mifflin, the raucous Berks Catholic cheering section broke into the first few bars of "Seven Nation Army," which includes the line "I'm going to Wichita."
The Saints can have Kansas. Imhotep is going to Hershey - to play for the state championship.
Imhotep blanked Berks Catholic, 20-0, behind stellar red-zone defense and three long rushing scores.
The Panthers will become the first Philadelphia public school team to play for a state title when they meet Pittsburgh-area South Fayette at noon Saturday at Hersheypark Stadium.
"But that's not our goal," Temple-bound offensive lineman Aaron Ruff said. "Our goal is to win Hershey, not just to get there."
Imhotep had to battle just to get there. Berks Catholic drove the ball inside Imhotep's 20-yard line four times, but never scored. Shaka Toney made two big red-zone sacks and later tipped a pass on fourth down.
On offense, Imhotep committed to the run. Late in the first quarter, Deandre Scott took a handoff 75 yards to give the Panthers a 6-0 lead.
"I just have to say thank you to the other running backs," said Scott, who has committed to Arizona State as a defensive back.
"Defenses don't watch me, because I don't start. They watch them, so they don't know my running style. Whatever they run, I'll run opposite."
Nasir Bonner and Mike Waters ground out yards between the tackles, and Tyliek Raynor provided a nice change of pace, breaking off three carries for 126 yards and two long touchdowns.
"We're a family," Scott said. "It's not about who's getting the most carries. If you get the ball, you get the ball. If you don't, you motivate your teammates."
Scott planned to spend Saturday night with pizza, soda, and the Pac-12 championship. But he said he had already begun preparations for Hershey.
"I always look at it like the people that are successful are the people that put in the extra work," Scott said. "We're not going to wait until Monday."
That's a Monday that starts early for the Panthers.
"We have to be at school at 8:15 and out after 5:30," Bonner said. "We're the first ones in, last ones out. And it's showing right now."
The first ones in are also the first Philly public team to head to Hershey.
"We're representing Philly," Ruff said. "People think Philly is one of the craziest places in the state, which is kind of true. But they think Philly is nothing but track and basketball. We're proving to them that it's football, as well."
Imhotep Charter 6 8 0 6 – 20
Berks Catholic 0 0 0 0 – 0
IC: Deandre Scott 75 run (kick failed)
IC: Tyliek Raynor 49 run (Denniston Moore pass from Andre Dreuitt-Parks)
IC: Raynor 44 run (run failed)