Imhotep Charter has outscored foes by 522-44 while going 11-0. Archbishop Wood has achieved the same record by a margin of 497-130.

That type of dominance has many thinking the survivor of the PIAA District 12 Class AAA championship rematch Saturday will almost certainly go on to claim statewide glory in Hershey.

Following its 42-34 victory over Imhotep last season, Wood went on to earn its second consecutive state title and third in four years.

The Panthers, on a mission to capture their first state title, and the Vikings, aiming for their eighth straight District 12 crown, will clash at 4 p.m. at Northeast.

"It's a game everyone in the city has been waiting to see," Imhotep coach Albie Crosby said. "We're just excited about the opportunity to continue our season."

The Panthers' high-octane offense is powered by a mammoth line made up of center Brashon McCrae (6-foot-1, 255 pounds), guards JohnCarlo Valentin (6-5, 340) and Jahmir Johnson (6-5, 275), tackles Yasir Durant (6-6, 340) and Justin Johnson (6-7, 340), and Florida State-bound tight end Naseir "Pop" Upshur (6-3, 245).

Behind that group, Mike Waters has carried 99 times for 1,219 yards and 31 touchdowns. Fellow senior halfback Tyliek Raynor, an Arizona recruit who sat out six games due to an injury, is likewise a major threat.

Imhotep lefthander Nasir Boykin has thrown for 1,683 yards and 21 touchdowns. His top targets are Upshur and wideouts Aamir Brown and Nasir Lewis. "One of the big reasons for our success this season is our balance," Crosby said.

For Wood's similarly explosive offense, senior quarterback Anthony Russo has passed for 2,288 yards and 34 TDs. The Rutgers recruit mostly spreads the ball among Mark Webb, Raheem "Speedy" Blackshear, James Gillespie, and Jordan Johnson.

Of Russo, Crosby said: "He's a tremendous quarterback. He was really good last year. This year, he's been outstanding."

Leading the charge for an Imhotep defense that has allowed only eight points in the last seven games are linemen Upshur, Shaka Toney, Andre Mintze, and Jalen Denby.

Wood's Russo will test a secondary made up of cornerbacks Prince Smith and Mike Crawford, and safeties Isheem Young and Shyeem Shaw.

A physical Wood defense is spearheaded by tackles Omar Peterkin and Anthony Diodato, ends Ryan Barrett and Mack Schwartz, and linebackers Sebastian Silva and Matt Palmer.

Pick. This one's a toss-up. The guess here is that the Panthers nip the Vikings in a high-scoring affair. Imhotep, 37-31.

In other playoff games:


District 1 Class AAAA semifinal

: Pennsbury (9-3) at Upper Dublin (12-0), 7. Can Falcons linebacker Luke Snyder and company slow red-hot Cardinals QB Ryan Stover?

Pick: Upper Dublin, 27-14.

District 1 Class AAAA semifinal: Neshaminy (9-3) at North Penn (10-2), 7. The Knights edged the Redskins, 22-17, in the regular season. A healthy Nyfease West paves the way to a sweep. Pick: North Penn, 28-17.

District 1 Class AAA final: Upper Moreland (10-2) vs. Academy Park (12-0), at Plymouth Whitemarsh, 7. The Golden Bears and Knights have dangerous rushers in Rodney Morgan (2,356 yards) and Jermaine Wesley (1,513). Pick: Academy Park, 26-21.

PIAA Class A first round: Marian Catholic (8-4) vs. Bishop McDevitt (6-6), at Northwest Philly Super Site, 7. Marian's offense is spurred by K.J. Snerr (1,256 yards rushing, 19 TDs) and Ethan Kuczynski (1,175 passing yards, 13 TDs). Pick: McDevitt, 20-16.


District 12 Class AAAA final:

La Salle (7-3) vs. Simon Gratz (10-2), at Northeast, noon. The Explorers' defense must contend with 1,300-yard rusher Luke White and a Bulldogs line that averages 300-plus pounds.

Pick: La Salle, 28-19.

PIAA Class AA first round: West Catholic (8-4) vs. New Hope-Solebury (12-1), at Plymouth Whitemarsh, 1. The Burrs' loaded nonleague slate (Wood, North Penn, Haverford School, etc.) pays dividends here. Pick: West, 36-6.