Sills capped a dazzling opening drive with a 3-yard touchdown run, but Imhotep's edge rushers overwhelmed him on every first-half drive thereafter. The Panthers pressured constantly, sacked him once, and forced an interception by Steve Denby.
Meanwhile, a 25-yard touchdown pass from Andre Dreuitt-Parks to DJ Moore left the game tied, 6-6, at halftime. It was a deadlock Eastern Christian was lucky to face. Imhotep was stopped on four straight runs inside the 4 and turned the ball over twice in Eastern Christian territory.
"At halftime, I kind of sat alone and said, 'I'm the quarterback. I have to take over the game,' " Sills said.
But to combat the edge rushers, Eastern Christian moved inside and developed its ground game. Jahmee Ballard made it 14-6 with a 27-yard rushing touchdown.
Then Sills took over. He threw a 4-yard TD pass and scored the conversion himself to make it 22-6.
After Imhotep's Mike Waters scored to make it 22-14 after three quarters, Sills answered right back, capping a long drive with a short play-action scramble up the right sideline to make it 30-14.
When Ballard scored a 37-yard TD for a 36-20 lead with 1:23 remaining, the game looked to be put away. But Imhotep, ranked No. 2 in Southeastern Pennsylvania by The Inquirer, played to the end.
Dreuitt-Parks connected with Nasir Lewis for a 16-yard TD with 1.6 seconds left for the final score.
"We played to the final seconds against one of the best teams in the country," said Imhotep coach Albie Crosby. "I'm extremely proud of my team."
Added Moore: "We showed we can play well against a team from out of state. I think we showed where we stand in this city."
Eastern Christian 6 0 16 14 – 36
Imhotep Charter 0 6 8 14 – 28
EC: David Sills 3 run (pass failed)
IC: DJ Moore 25 pass from Andre Dreuitt-Parks (kick failed)
EC: Jahmee Ballard 27 run (Ballard run)
EC: Neiko Creamer 4 pass from Sills (Sills run)
IC: Mike Waters 3 run (Waters run)
EC: Sills 2 run (Creamer pass from Sills)
IC: Tyliek Raynor 1 run (pass failed)
EC: Ballard 37 run (pass failed)
IC: Nasir Lewis 16 pass from Dreuitt-Parks (Raynor run)