The game was played in a swamp in the first half after rain pelted the field at Springfield Delco.

But Dazhon Miller scored two touchdowns, and the Academy Park Knights shook off the dampness to defeat Springfield, 24-18, Friday night in a PIAA Class 5A state quarterfinal.

The victory also earned Academy Park the District 1 5A championship and advanced it to the state semifinals next weekend against Archbishop Wood, winners Friday over Whitehall.

"We knew the competition was only going to get better and better as the season went on," Academy Park coach Jason Vosheski said. "I'm most proud of the guys for sticking together, for sticking together to the end."

The sloppy field led to sloppy play in the early going. Both teams fell victim to penalties on false starts, and the rain made the ball slick. So both quarterbacks dropped snaps, and the coaches committed to their running games.

Academy Park (13-1) struck first when Miller scored from 8 yards out in the first quarter, and Amara Kenneth converted the two-point conversion on the ground.

Springfield (12-2) came back in the second quarter and took a 9-8 lead on a safety, an 11-yard scoring run by Ja'den McKenzie, and Jack Coary's extra-point kick.

McKenzie increased Springfield's lead to seven, 15-8, after a 41-yard run in the third quarter and a missed extra point. But Academy Park answered with a 62-yard run by Miller and a Teddy Wright kick to tie the game at 15.

Coary's 34-yard field goal put Springfield back in front, 18-15. Kareem Burton scored the game-winning points on a 46-yard run, and Wright made the extra point for a 22-18 lead.

As time was running out, Springfield purposely snapped the ball out of the end zone to give Academy Park a safety and itself a chance to recover an onside kick.

The Cougars indeed recovered the onside kick and drove the ball downfield. But, with 50 seconds remaining, the Knights stripped the ball from the Cougars and took possession to end the threat.

The Cougars, ranked No. 14 in the Inquirer's Top 25, had advanced to Friday's game after beating West Chester Henderson last week in the district semifinal.

Academy Park, ranked 15th in the top 25, beat Marple Newtown last weekend in the district semifinals to advance to the Springfield game.

Springfield (D) 0 9 9 0 - 18

Academy Park 8 0 14 2 - 24

AP: Dazhon Miller 8 run (Amara Kenneth run)

S: Safety

S: Ja'den McKenzie 11 run (Jack Coary kick)

S: McKenzie 41 run (kick failed)

AP: Miller 62 run (Teddy Wright kick)

S: FG Coary 34

AP: Kareem Burton 46 run (Wright kick)

AP: Safety