Next up for St. Joseph’s Prep is the PIAA District 12 final, 4 p.m. Saturday at Northeast High School, where the Hawks will meet the Public League champion Frankford Pioneers.
After dropping three straight non-league games, the Pioneers have won seven straight. A feisty group that relies on several two-way starters, Frankford relies on the run, having amassed more than 2,000 yards and 25 touchdowns on the ground. At 8-2, the Prep’s numbers are similar – with more than 2,000 yards and 22 rushing TDs.
The main difference between the two teams is both on defense and in the passing game. The Prep has intercepted 19 passes and returned two for touchdowns while Frankford has seized nine errant tosses.
Through the air, Prep senior Chris Martin’s resume of 115 of 177 for 1,535 yards and 20 touchdowns obliterates senior Marquise Poston’s 45 for 127 for 637 yards and seven touchdowns.
However, Martin won’t be playing because of a serious knee injury, so junior backup Jack Clements will take the snaps. Clements has completed 12 of 23 passes for 121 yards and one touchdown.
Forecast and prediction: Frankford is very good and has some supremely talented individuals, particularly in the backfield, offensive line and defensive line. However, it is difficult to imagine the Pioneers lasting four quarters against a much bigger Prep team. While Frankford will benefit from Martin’s inability to play, the Hawks should meticulously put the game away by early in the fourth quarter.
Final score: St. Joseph’s Prep 34, Frankford 12
In the AAA city title, Archbishop Wood will meet Martin Luther King 1 p.m. Saturday at Northeast High School.
Wood (8-2) moved on by defeating Bonner-Prendergast, 42-6, as junior Jarrett McClenton scored three touchdowns while classmate Jake Cooper added two.
Side note on Bonner-Prendergast: Before losing to Wood, the Friars had set a city record for the largest postseason comeback win in the Catholic League semifinals. They trailed Cardinal O’Hara by 28 points before stunning the Lions, 41-38. The previous best comeback occurred in 2003, when West Catholic erased a 20-0 deficit before emerging with a 32-27 victory.
Forecast and prediction: King has won nine straight games and has averaged 33 points while doing so. But this is an entirely different scenario, one that will end in lopsided fashion.
Final score: Archbishop Wood 49, MLK 7
In the AA city title, West Catholic will meet Imhotep 6:30 p.m. Friday at the Northwest Supersite.
West Catholic only needed one victory to win the CL title, defeating Neumann-Goretti, 34-9, as senior Greg White gained 170 yards and scored four touchdowns on 21 carries. The Burrs then stopped New Hope Solebury in the PIAA semifinals.
Forecast and prediction: To beat Imhotep, West Catholic (9-2) must find a way to keep the Panthers off the field. That won’t be easy. Imhotep is 10-1 and averages more than 50 points per game. Among its victims were LaSalle (40-28) and Bonner-Prendergast (45-13).
Final score: West Catholic provides a battle early, but Imhotep moves on convincingly, 48-12.
John Knebels can be reached at email@example.com.