After an emotionally charged victory over Archbishop Wood in the District 12 Class AAA final six days earlier, Imhotep Charter was vulnerable to a possible letdown in Friday night's state quarterfinal against Academy Park.
"Beating Wood was huge for us, but we knew we had to get back to work right away," Panthers senior defensive end Shaka Toney said. "You can't let up against anybody at this point in the season."
With Toney helping to contain the edge against the Knights' run-heavy attack, Imhotep, which found the end zone on four of its first five possessions, stayed the course with a 46-16 romp at chilly Plymouth Whitemarsh.
"Academy Park was unbeaten, so we didn't take them lightly," Toney said. "We knew we had to come out here and dominate."
The 6-foot-4, 220-pound Toney and company held the Knights to 86 yards rushing and one touchdown through three quarters. The Penn State recruit was joined up front by fellow end Andre Mintze and tackles Jordan McCray and Jalen Denby.
A pair of speedy playmakers, quarterback Jawan Collins and handyman Jermaine Wesley, helped spark the Knights to the Del-Val League crown and the squad's second District 1 title in the last three seasons.
"Their quarterback is a superb athlete, deadly with his legs," Toney said. "Our focus was on keeping him and [Wesley] from bouncing outside and making long runs."
Imhotep (13-0) will take on District 11's Saucon Valley, which advanced by beating Selinsgrove Friday night, in a state semifinal next weekend at a site and time to be determined.
Against Academy Park (13-1), the speedy Panthers netted 274 rushing yards on 36 attempts. Junior southpaw Nasir Boykin added 117 yards through the air.
Senior halfback Mike Waters carried 14 times for 164 yards and three touchdowns. He scored on bursts of 40, 12, and 30 yards.
Waters' backfield mate, Tyliek Raynor, went down midway through the first quarter with an apparent ankle injury and did not return. "He's a tough player," Toney said of the Arizona recruit. "It's a good bet that he'll be back next week."
Toney, who lives near 54th and City Line Avenue in West Philly, is projected to play linebacker at Penn State. The 17-year-old plans to major in criminal justice or architecture.
Imhotep Charter 18 6 16 6 - 46
Academy Park 0 8 0 8 - 16
IC: Mike Waters 40 run (pass failed)
IC: Isheem Young 9 run (run failed)
IC: Nasir Lewis 48 pass from Nasir Boykin (run failed)
AP: Jermaine Wesley 6 run (Teddy Wright pass from Jawan Collins)
IC: Waters 12 run (pass failed)
IC: Waters 30 run (Naseir Upshur pass from Boykin)
IC: Boykin 17 run (Chris Wells run)
IC: Wells 13 run (pass failed)
AP: Wesley 6 run (De'Andre Perkins pass from Collins)