We're down to two teams: Ridley and Garnet Valley. From the way both have played in recent weeks, both have a strong shot at playing for PIAA state championships in Hershey.
To get to Chocolate Town, Ridley must knock off fellow unbeaten Parkland, of District 11, in Class AAAA. Garnet Valley has to find a way past District 3's Lampeter-Strasburg in Class AAA.
Last week: 3-3.
PIAA Class AAAA state semifinal
Ridley vs. Parkland, tomorrow at noon, J. Birney Crum Stadium in Allentown.
Records: Ridley, No. 1 in The Inquirer's rankings, is 13-0. Parkland is 14-0.
For Ridley, John Waller has compiled a 69-17 record in seven seasons. For Parkland, Jim Morgansis is 33-5 in three seasons.
Ridley - The Green Raiders are averaging 27.2 points per game. Bruising tailback Andrew Hodges has carried 283 times for 1,709 yards and 24 touchdowns. Fullback Matt Tassoni has chipped in with 286 rushing yards and three TDs. Steve Egee has passed for 1,759 yards and 19 TDs. His top receivers are Rob Lamey (49 catches for 637 yards), Hodges (22 for 325), Steve Gregg (22 for 418) and Jake Cahill (18 for 260). Defensively, Ridley has allowed just 6.2 points per game. Up front, Kevin McLaughlin and Tony Agatsiotis are the leaders. Hodges and Greg Marenic head the linebacking corps. Parkland - The Trojans' wing-T offense is sparked by quarterback John Laub (1,351 passing yards, 20 TDs), fullback Kevin Herod (827 rushing yards, 9 TDs), and halfbacks Sam Tajiri (517 rushing yards, seven TDs) and Daryl Herod (480 rushing yards, five TDs). Defensively, linebackers Nate Zimmel (82 solo tackles, 45 assists) and Pete Bross (78, 58) are the anchors.
Parkland has a lot of weapons on offense, as it showed in last week's quarterfinal win over George Washington. But Ridley's defense is good enough to hold the Trojans to two scores.
PIAA Class AAA state semifinal
Garnet Valley vs. Lampeter-Strasburg, tonight at 7, HersheyPark Stadium
Records: Garnet Valley, No. 9 in The Inquirer's rankings, is 12-1. Lampeter-Strasburg, of District 3, is 12-2.
For Garnet Valley, Mike Ricci is 120-96-1 in 21 seasons. Lampeter-Strasburg's John Manion, in his 10th season, is 74-31.
Garnet Valley - In the Jaguars' option attack, halfbacks Tim Keyser (1,113 yards, 13 TDs) and Jared Bonacquisti (817 yards, 22 TDs) and quarterback Eric Van Wyk (729 yards, seven TDs) have combined for 2,659 rushing yards and 42 TDS. Van Wyk has passed for 1,342 yards and 12 TDs. Keyser (32 catches for 631 yards) is also a receiving threat. Defensively, linebacker Drew Kravitz is a stalwart for a unit that yields an average of 9.5 yards per game. Lampeter-Strasburg - The Pioneers' wing-T offense is spearheaded by quarterback Brett Graeff (75-for-141 passing, 1,424 yards, 14 TDs) and halfbacks Justin Taylor (1,496 rushing yards, 18 TDs) and Rob Zimmerman (875 rushing yards, 13 TDs.). Taylor (16 catches for 315 yards, seven TDs) and tight end Seth Rolko (15 catches for 285 yards, two TDs) are the top receivers. On defense, 5-foot-9, 170-pound end/tackle Anthony Cintron has posted 82 tackles, 19 sacks and 19 quarterback hurries. Zimmerman, at linebacker, has 85 tackles.
Both teams are undersized, but have plenty of speed. If the Jaguars can keep Taylor from running wild, they should be on the winning end of a taut battle.
Garnet Valley, 23-21.