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Imhotep rolls into state final

Playing against Imhotep Charter in football has been a daunting task for opponents this season.

Playing against Imhotep Charter in football has been a daunting task for opponents this season.

Friday night at Bethlehem's Frank Banko Field was no different.

Imhotep overwhelmed Saucon Valley, 72-27, in the PIAA Class AAA semifinals and earned another trip to the state finals in Hershey.

"We're just physical freaks," said Naseir "Pop" Upshur, a senior defensive end and tight end. "We can beat you from all sides. We have good players for every position. We dominate every time so it's hard to stop us."

The Panthers (14-0, 6-0) scored 36 points in the second quarter and finished with 524 total yards - 455 coming on the ground.

Senior running back Mike Waters supplied 220 yards and four touchdowns on just 15 carries (14.6 per attempt). He also added a 48-yard touchdown catch, and all of his production came in the first half.

"We've just been working for so long," Waters said. "To accomplish our goals is amazing. It's a dream come true. Me being a senior and going to Hershey for the second time, it's just amazing."

With his five touchdowns, Waters tied an all-time, single-season city record with 42 touchdowns.

Last season, Archbishop Wood's Jarrett McClenton (Villanova) finished with 42. West Catholic's Rob Hollomon also had 42 in 2008.

Waters also now holds the single-season rushing touchdown record with 39 (McClenton had 37).

On Friday, Waters scored on touchdowns of 3, 76, 53, and 4 yards.

Defensively, Naiheem Santos added an interception while Upshur, Andre Mintz, Amin Black, Prince Smith and Jordan McCray combined to make eight tackles for loss, which subtracted 47 yards from District 11 Saucon Valley.

Saucon Valley (14-1) finished with 302 total yards and hung close until Imhotep exploded in the second quarter.

Waters scored three times in the second. Nasir Boykin added a 39-yard score. The junior quarterback rushed for 130 yards and two scores on five carries (26 per attempt).

Also in the quarter, Isheem Young had a 50-yard punt return negated by a penalty (Boykin scored anyway).

Aamir Brown also returned the game's opening kickoff 84 yards for a score.

"It's just crazy because we can beat you any kind of way," said offensive lineman Yasir Durante. "We can beat you with the pass, or we can beat you with the run. When we're rolling, I don't think there's another team in the state that can really matchup with what we have."

Imhotep will face District 10 Cathedral Prep, which defeated Bishop McDevitt, 38-34, for the state championship,

The game will be next Friday at HersheyPark Stadium at 7 p.m.

As a Class AA school two years ago, Imhotep lost to South Fayette, 41-0, in the championship at Hershey.

"We weren't as good as this team right here," said Upshur, a senior who will play at Florida State next season. "I remember crying after that loss. I don't ever want to feel that feeling again."

Imhotep Charter    24 36 12 0 - 72

Saucon Valley   14 6 0 7 - 27

I: Aamir Brown 84 kickoff return (Nasir Boykin run)

S: Evan Culver 3 run (Josh Snead kick)

I: Mike Waters 3 run (Boykin run)

I: Boykin 57 run (Brown run)

S: Nate Harka 30 pass from Zach Thatcher (Snead kick)

I: Waters 76 run (Brown run)

S: Thatcher 48 run (run failed)

I: Waters 53 run (pass failed)

I: Waters 4 run (pass failed)

I: Waters 48 pass from Boykin (Isheem Young run)

I: Boykin 39 run (Chris Wells run)

I: Chris Wells 19 run (run failed)

I: Antwon Keys 13 run (pass failed)

S: Culver 6 run (Snead kick)