Football playoff primer: Neumann-Goretti quiets West Catholic
Neumann-Goretti will face Schuylkill Haven in the second round of the PIAA Class 2A state football playoffs.
Neumann-Goretti has survived several tight games to stay unbeaten on the gridiron.
First-year boss Albie Crosby and the new-look Saints are 10-0 heading into a PIAA Class 2A second-round playoff against District 11's Schuylkill Haven (8-4) at 6 p.m. Saturday at the South Philly Super Site.
"The kids, even when we're down, just believe we're going to come out on top," Crosby said. "It's a confident group."
Buoyed by its quick and aggressive defense, Neumann-Goretti blanked West Catholic, 18-0, in Saturday night's District 1-12 subregional final at 10th and Bigler Streets.
The Saints limited their Catholic League Blue Division rival to 107 yards rushing on 30 attempts. While facing consistent pressure, the Burrs' Da'Vion Jackson completed 4 of 15 passes for only 23 yards.
Neumann-Goretti revived its program this year after shutting it shut down last October because of a shortage of players and concerns about injuries. It went 0-6 overall and 0-4 in the Blue Division.
Despite this year's unblemished record, Crosby, who guided Imhotep Charter to a 53-6 record and a Class 3A state crown in four seasons, said, "We're still a work in progress."
On the third play from scrimmage against West Catholic, Charles Britt connected with wideout Dymir Cave on a slant pattern for an 87-yard touchdown. The Saints reached the 12-yard line on their ensuing series, but were turned away when a scrambling Britt was held to seven yards on a fourth-and-9 play.
Neumann-Goretti, which defeated the Burrs by a 20-6 decision at the same site on Sept. 30, took a 6-0 lead into the locker room.
"I said to the kids at halftime, 'We're going to score on our first drive, make it a two-score game, and win the game,' " Crosby said. "And that's what we did."
Chris Wells' 44-yard dart made it 12-0 with just under eight minutes remaining in the third quarter. On a left-side bootleg, Britt's 4-yard toss to tight end Jayvonne Campfield midway through the fourth capped the scoring.
Neumann-Goretti's defense is led by tackle Christian Barmore, end Kharon Lloyd, linebackers Campfield, Andre Williams and Jalen Hollerway, cornerbacks Romello Edwards and Taahir Hall, and safeties Cave and Tysheem Johnson (six interceptions).
The 6-foot-6, 295-pound Barmore orally committed to Temple in June, but has since picked up scholarship offers from Alabama, Florida, Georgia, LSU, and Maryland, among others.
Wells and Leddie Brown, a West Virginia recruit, make up a potent one-two rushing punch. Wells carried 13 times for 71 yards vs. West Catholic, while Brown netted 62 yards on 16 attempts.
"They complement each other well," Crosby said. "Brown is a very physical runner and Wells is extremely fast."
Springside Chestnut Hill Academy coach Rick Knox posted his 100th victory in a 24-20 victory over Inter-Ac League rival Haverford School on Nov. 4.
Knox, whose squad bowed to host Malvern Prep by a 52-21 decision on Saturday afternoon, has won 79 games in 13 seasons at SCH. He earned 21 victories at Episcopal Academy from 2001 to 2004.
West Catholic's Kha'jey Frazier and Troy Athill recovered fumbles vs. Neumann-Goretti. Teammates Rovny DaSilva and Keith Jenkins combined on a sack … Malvern Prep clinched its first outright Inter-Ac League title since 2011 with its triumph over SCH. … In Friday night's frigid Catholic League Class 6A final, St. Joseph's Prep linebacker Phil O'Connor was involved in 10 tackles, including two sacks, in a 17-3 win over La Salle. Hawks end Rayshad Wallace notched eight solo tackles. For La Salle, Dan Kuznetsov made a team-high 10 tackles. Fellow lineman Garrett Zobel and linebacker Liam Trainer were next in line with seven tackles apiece.
Here is the tentative schedule for next weekend's playoffs.
District 12 Class 6A Final
St. Joseph's Prep at Northeast, 6 p.m. Saturday.
District 1 Class 6A Semifinals
No. 8 seed Pennsbury at No. 4 Coatesville, 7 p.m.
No. 7 Pennridge at No. 3 Garnet Valley, 7 p.m.
District 12 Class 5A Final
Archbishop Wood vs. Simon Gratz, at Northeast, 1 p.m. Saturday.
District 1 Class 5A Semifinals
No. 5 Upper Dublin at No. 1 Springfield (Delco), 7 p.m.
No. 7 Marple Newtown at No. 3 Unionville, 7 p.m.
District 12 Class 4A Final
Cardinal O'Hara vs. Imhotep Charter, at Northwest Philly Super Site, 6 p.m. Friday.
PIAA Class 4A
Bethlehem Catholic vs. Pottsgrove, at Spring-Ford, 7 p.m. Friday.
District 1-12 Class 3A Final
Lansdale Catholic vs. Conwell-Egan, at Harry S Truman, 7 p.m. Friday.
PIAA Class 2A
Schuylkill Haven vs. Neumann-Goretti, at South Philly Super Site, 6 p.m. Saturday.