When your football program hasn't lost a game in 27 tries, falling behind early can come as a shock.
Imhotep appeared unfazed Friday night, however, after District 2 North Pocono took an early lead.
Thanks to big plays in every phase of the game, the Panthers recovered with aplomb en route to a 38-7 victory in a PIAA Class 4A state quarterfinal at Northern Lehigh High.
"We knew coming into the game that they wouldn't just lay down," said senior linebacker Amin Black, who also celebrated his 18th birthday Friday. "We knew we were coming into a battle. We're happy we had this test so the next games we'll be ready."
After their 28th consecutive win, the Panthers (12-0) will play the winner between District 11 Bethlehem Catholic and District 6 Johnstown, which will play Saturday at 1 p.m. at Chambersburg.
The Panthers last lost to Archbishop Wood in the 2014 Class 3A district title game.
Friday night, junior wideout Justin Harris and senior quarterback Nasir Boykins combined to spark the Panthers offense.
The Trojans (10-4) recovered an onside kick to start the game and parlayed the recovery into a six-play, 65-yard scoring drive, capped by a 42-yard touchdown reception by Matt Craig.
On its fourth offensive play, Harris got Imhotep on the scoreboard with a 35-yard scoring pass from Boykin.
The Panthers' defense then forced three straight three-and-outs, with each resulting in Imhotep touchdowns.
Boykins hits Harris for 29 yards and a score. Amir Brown then scored on a 47-yard run. And Jeffrey Davis returned a punt 72 yards for a score that gave the Panthers a 26-7 lead with 9 minutes, 31 seconds left in the half.
Isheem Young created the next Panthers score by forcing a fumble, which was scooped up by Alonzo Taylor and taken for a 65-yard score.
"We know things are going to happen," Black said. "We know we're not perfect. We're human, so after the onside kick, coach [Mark Schmidt] told us to calm down, and we just played football."
The Panthers amassed 309 total yards by halftime and relinquished just 79.
The Trojans finished with 162 total yards, led by 48 yards on 19 carries by Craig, who finished with two catches for 38 yards.
Boykins finished with 124 yards and two scores on 7-of-12 passing. Harris finished with four receptions for 76 yards and two touchdowns. Young added a 3-yard rushing touchdown.
Chris Wells led the Panthers with 96 yards rushing on just six carries (16 yards per attempt). Senior defensive back Mike Crawford added an interception.
"I think that motivates the defense even more," Black said. "You have the offense scoring, so we have to come out with another shutout [3-and-out]. I think we're in competition sometimes when the offense scores."
Imhotep 12 20 0 6 - 38
North Pocono 7 0 0 0 - 7
NP: Matt Craig 42 pass from Donny Blaine (Bryce Taylor kick)
IM: Just Harris 35 pass from Nasir Boykins (run fail)
IM: Harris 29 pass from Boykins (run fail)
IM: Amir Lewis 47 run (run fail)
IM: Jeffrey Davis 72 punt return (Aamir Brown run)
IM: Alonzo Taylor 65 punt return (run fail)
IM: Isheem Young 3 run (run failed)