Philly’s Imhotep Charter in Football State Title Game Friday
A Philadelphia public school has a chance to make history tomorrow.
The Imhotep Charter Panthers will play Erie’s Cathedral Prep at 7 in Hershey Friday in the PIAA Class AAA state football championship. Imhotep is 14-0 this season; no Philadelphia public league school has ever won a state football title. (Philly Pub schools began playing in state football playoffs in 2008.)
Imhotep has three linemen who are targets of NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (Division I-A) programs: Johncarlo Valentin, Yasir Durant and Jahmir Johnson. Imhotep obliterated Saucon Valley in the state semifinals, 72-27. They had 60 by halftime.
“We’re just physical freaks,” Naseir “Pop” Upshur, a senior defensive end and tight end, told the Inquirer after the team’s impressive semifinal win. “We can beat you from all sides. We have good players for every position. We dominate every time, so it’s hard to stop us.”
Imhotep’s big lineman were key run blockers in the game against Saucon Valley: Of the team’s 524 yards in the game, 455 were on the ground. Senior running back Mike Waters has 42 touchdowns this season, tying a Philadelphia area record.
Imhotep, which is in East Germantown not too far from La Salle University, lost the AA final in 2013, and lost to eventual state champion Archbishop Wood High School in last year’s District 12 title game. The Panthers upset Wood in the District 12 final this year, 20-14. Archbishop Wood, then ranked 20th in the country, had won 20 straight games before losing to Imhotep.
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