PREP ENDS PERFECT SEASON WITH 6A STATE TITLE, FOOTBALLSTORIES SE PENNSYLVANIA TEAM OF THE YEAR
The goal every year is the same for St. Joe’s Prep coach Gabe Infante: Play into December.
It’s what the Hawks have been doing quite often over the last five years, and it’s that standard of sustained success that enables St. Joe’s Prep to top Footballstories 2016 season finale Top 20 list, out-distancing Public League powerhouse Imhotep Charter and Archbishop Wood, Prep’s Catholic League rival, for the top spot.
The Prep crushed Central Catholic 42-7 in the PIAA AAAAAA state championship game
Wood knocked off Harrisburg 37-10 in the AAAAA state title game.
Most of it the criteria this is based on comes from strength of schedule.
Prep plays a far more ambitious schedule each year than every team in the area, save for North Penn, which suffered its only loss in the PIAA 6A state semifinals, under the new state classification system, in a highly competitive game to Prep, 35-25.
Here are some undisputable facts about the Hawks: Entering the 6A state championship against Pittsburgh Central Catholic, they had outscored their opponents 521-212, and that includes beating Wood, North Penn, two Southeastern Pennsylvania Top 10 teams, and Don Bosco Prep, the perennial North Jersey power, for the time in Prep history.
Leading the offense was Georgia-bound D’Andre Swift, who rushed for over 4,000 yards in his career, including two back-to-back performances that amassed 584 yards on 49 carries that produced six touchdowns in getting the Hawks to their third state-title game in the last four years.
Compounding trouble for opposing teams was budding junior quarterback Marquez McCray, who threw for over 2,000 yards and tossed 20 touchdowns.
Archbishop Wood lost early won big at the end. The Vikings have had the most successful program in the area over the last decade. They reached the 5A state championship against Harrisburg, led by all-everything junior Micah Parsons, 6-3, 235-pound man-child who is ranked as the No. 8 player in the class of 2018 by ESPN.
Wood was going for its fourth state title in the last six years. They’ve done it like they always do—using a power game. Running backs Shawn Thompson and Raheem “Speedy” Blackshear combined for over 2,000 yards rushing and 30 touchdowns. The only two teams the Vikings couldn’t beat in the area were the ones that finished above them in the rankings, Prep and Imhotep. Otherwise, Wood was just as good as it’s always been.
Archbishop Wood WR Mark Webb has 33 catches for 703 yards and six touchdowns to lead the Vikings. On defense Webb leads the team with three interceptions.
And finally, rounding out the top three, is Imhotep Charter.
The Panthers were right behind Prep all season, and was going for its second-straight state championship as a 4A school in the state’s new 6A classification system. The Panthers didn’t play the kind of schedule that Prep played, but anyone that had the misfortune of meeting them on the field regretted it.
Imhotep crushed opponents all season long, outscoring the first 13 teams that it met, 542-53, winning by average of 37.7 points a game before the state title game against Erie Cathedral Prep.
Imhotep gave up a 20-9 lead in the fourth quarter suffering a 27-20 heart breaker.
Senior free safety Isheem Young has received over 20 scholarship offers from schools like Alabama, Ohio State, Michigan and Penn State.
Footballstories Southeastern PA Final Top 20 For 2016
1. St. Joe’s Prep (14-0) AAAAAA District 12 & State Champs
3. Archbishop Wood (11-2-1) AAAAA District 12 & State Champs
3. Imhotep Charter (13-1) AAAA District 12 Champs State runner-up
4. North Penn (14-1) AAAAAA Dstrict 1 Champs
5. Garnet Valley (Record: 11-3)
6. Perkiomen Valley (Record: 12-1) Pioneer-Liberty Champs
7. Coatesville (Record: 11-2)
8. Malvern Prep (Record: 8-3) Inter-Ac Champs
9. Academy Park (Record: 13-2)
10. Springfield (Record: 12-2) Co-Central League Champs
11. Ridley (11-2)* Co-Central League Champs
12. Neshaminy (Record: 11-1) Suburban One- National Champs
13. Interboro (10-3)* DelVal Champs
14. Downingtown East (9-3)
15. Germantown Academy (8-2)
16. Pym.-Whitemarsh (9-3)
17. Upper Dublin (9-2)
18. Marple Newtown (10-2) Co-Central League Champs
19. Central Bucks South (8-3)
20. Central Bucks East (8-3)
20. (tie) Germantown Academy (8-2)
Best of the rest (alphabetically): Bishop Shanahan (8-4), Cardinal O’Hara (10-1), Conwell Egan (9-4), Delaware Valley Charter (8-5), Episcopal Academy (7-3), Haverford School (7-3),
Henderson (9-4), LaSalle (7-5), New Hope-Solebury (9-2), Northeast (9-3), Penn Wood (7-4), Pottsgrove (8-5), Simon Gratz (8-5), Spring-Ford (9-3), William Penn Charter (6-3).