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PIAA football semifinals: Archbishop Wood, Imhotep, Upper Dublin, West Catholic prep for games

Archbishop Wood, guided by first-year coach Kyle Adkins, is vying for its second straight state title and sixth in eighth seasons.

Archbishop Wood running back Leroy Pendleton (2) gets congratulated by teammate Brad Otto (21) after his 70-yard scoring run in a 27-7 win over Archbishop Ryan on Oct. 6.
Archbishop Wood running back Leroy Pendleton (2) gets congratulated by teammate Brad Otto (21) after his 70-yard scoring run in a 27-7 win over Archbishop Ryan on Oct. 6.Read moreLOU RABITO / Staff

Archbishop Wood, Imhotep Charter, Upper Dublin, and West Catholic are preparing for PIAA football semifinal playoff games on Friday night.

Wood is trying to move closer to its second straight championship and sixth in eighth seasons; Imhotep Charter is bidding for its first crown since 2015; and West Catholic is seeking its first title since 2010.

Here is a closer look at Friday night's contests. We will break down Saturday afternoon's Class 6A semifinals — Coatesville vs. Harrisburg and St. Joseph's Prep vs. Pine-Richland — on Friday.

PIAA Class 5A Semifinal

Wood (9-3) vs. District 7's Penn Hills (14-0), at Chambersburg, 7 p.m. Friday.

The Vikings have won nine of their last 10 games after opening with back-to-back losses to McDonogh (Md.) and Bergen Catholic (N.J.).

Tom Santiago is Wood's go-to ballcarrier, with 1,661 rushing yards and 16 touchdowns on 214 attempts. He is supported by Leroy Pendleton (41 carries for 321 yards, two TDs) and Chris Blackstone (58 for 312, two).

The catalyst for unbeaten Penn Hills is dual-threat QB Hollis Mathis. The 6-foot-1, 180-pounder has thrown for 2,570 yards and 37 TDs and has rushed for 453 yards and six scores.

The Indians also have solid playmakers in running backs Terry "Tank" Smith (182 carries for 1,506 yards) and receivers Daequan Hardy, Dante Cephas, and Cory Thomas.

Mathis and the 5-8, 205-pound Smith, who doubles as an inside linebacker, have both committed to play at Howard.

Pick: Wood, 28-17.

PIAA Class 5A Semifinal

Upper Dublin (12-1) vs. District 3's Manheim Central (13-0), at Wissahickon, 7 p.m. Friday.

Upper Dublin has reached the state semis for the second time in four seasons. Bret Stover's squad fell to District 11's Parkland, 30-14, in Class 4A in 2015.

The Cardinals offense centers on QB Mike Slivka, halfback Lucas Roselli, fullback Mason Novak, and wide receivers Selvin Haynes, Jason Scott, and Dylan Zlotnikoff.

Manheim QB Evan Simon has hit on 109 of 198 throws for 2,264 yards and 24 TDs.

Halfback Tyler Flick, the program's all-time leading rusher, has carried 243 times for 1,650 yards and 30 scores. The 6-foot, 195-pound senior is also a standout linebacker.

Pick: Manheim, 33-20.

PIAA Class 4A Semifinal

Imhotep Charter (10-2) vs. District 11's Bethlehem Catholic (11-3), at Northeast, 7 p.m. Friday.

Imhotep is hungry to capture the first-place hardware after losing to Erie Cathedral Prep in the final in each of the last two seasons.

The Panthers are spurred on offense by halfbacks Tykee Smith, a West Virginia recruit, Symear Williams, and Saint McLeod. QB Jalen Sutton-Christian spreads the ball among receivers Yusuf Terry (Baylor), Karam Cummings, and D'Shaun Seals.

The Golden Hawks are sparked QB Zamar Brake, halfbacks Tavion Banks and Zaheer Seabrooks, and receiver Matt Stianche. Banks carried 23 times for 172 yards and five scores in last week's 58-20 romp over Pottsgrove.

Pick: Imhotep, 23-21.

PIAA Class 2A Semifinal

West Catholic (12-2) vs. Southern Columbia (14-0), at Northern Lehigh, 7 p.m. Friday.

Southern Columbia, which has won a state-record eight consecutive titles, has outscored foes by 769-141 this season.

The Tigers have a high-powered offense ignited by QB Stone Hollenbach, who will be a preferred walk-on at Alabama, and running backs and brothers Gaige and Gavin Garcia.

Hollenbach has connected on 73 of 114 passes for 1,152 yards and 22 TDs; Gaige Garcia has carried 167 times for 1,748 yards and 33 scores; Gavin Garcia, a freshman, has rushed for 93 times for 1,083 yards and 20 TDs.

The Burrs offense is spearheaded by running backs Jacir Savoy and Zahir Booker. Savoy has carried 196 times for 962 yards and eight TDs in 12 games.

Defensively, Brian Fluck's squad relies heavily on linemen Damen Studstill and Rickquan Rivera, linebackers Booker and Kha'Jey Frazier, and safety Shakur Smalls.

Pick: Southern Columbia, 36-13.