Rick's Picks: Week 10

Episcopal Academy tight end Evan Butts is a top player in the Inter-Ac.
Episcopal Academy tight end Evan Butts is a top player in the Inter-Ac. (STEVEN M. FALK / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER)
Posted: November 02, 2013

Malvern Prep is looking to stay in the hunt for its fifth Inter-Ac League football championship in the last seven years. Episcopal Academy can clinch at least a share of its second consecutive title.

In a Week 10 matchup that will go a long way toward deciding top league honors, the Friars will visit the Churchmen at 7 p.m. Friday in Newtown Square.

Rebounding from an overtime loss to Haverford School, Malvern (5-2 overall, 2-1 Inter-Ac), ranked No. 16 in Southeastern Pennsylvania by The Inquirer, posted back-to-back league wins against Germantown Academy and Penn Charter.

The only slipup this season for No. 12 EA (8-1, 3-0) was a nonleague setback against Lawrenceville (N.J.) in Week 6. If the Churchmen can beat the Friars, only Haverford (4-5, 2-1), possibly, would stand in the way of an outright crown.

Malvern's offense is spurred by quarterback Alex Hornibrook and running backs Troy Gallen, Matt Brown, and Hunter Paulus.

EA, which last year handed the Friars a 26-7 defeat, likewise has a capable QB, with Ryan Whayland directing a spread attack, and three capable ballcarriers: Anthony Feliziani, Dee Barlee, and Cody Russell.

The Friars' leading playmakers on defense are end John Nassib (five interceptions), linebackers Paulus and Jake Anderson, and strong safety Jordan Majors.

For the Churchmen, who have registered eight consecutive Inter-Ac wins, a 3-4 defense features Virginia-bound end Evan Butts, nose guard John Minicozzi, and linebackers Mike Watkins and Jake Martilotti.

In what should be a taut contest, we expect the hosts, with Feliziani rushing for 100-plus yards for the fourth straight time, to prevail.

Pick: EA, 23-20.

Last week: 5-5. Overall: 71-22 (.763).

Also Friday

No. 3 Coatesville (9-0, 5-0 Ches-Mont National) at No. 19 Downingtown West (7-2, 5-0), 7. The visiting Red Raiders will try to claim top league honors without two-way back Daquan Worley. The Penn State recruit suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament last Friday vs. West Chester East. Pick: Coatesville, 30-14.

No. 25 Upper Darby (7-2, 6-1 Central) at Penncrest (7-2, 6-2), 7. After losing two of their first three games, Cyrus Barlee and Upper Darby have gained steam. Pick: Upper Darby, 26-20.

Catholic AAAA Semifinal

No. 13 Father Judge (6-3, 2-2) vs. No. 6 La Salle (7-2, 3-1), at Plymouth Whitemarsh, 7. The Explorers barely escaped the Crusaders, 17-16, in Week 6. Pick: La Salle, 31-14.

Saturday

Catholic AA Final

Neumann-Goretti (5-3, 3-1) vs. No. 23 West Catholic (7-2, 4-0), at Southern, 2:30. Even without leading rusher Greg White, the Burrs blanked the Saints, 18-0, two weeks ago. Pick: West, 32-7.

Public AAAA Semifinal

Northeast (4-5, 3-2) vs. George Washington (4-4, 4-1), at Northeast, 3:30. Washington is determined to gain a title-round rematch vs. Frankford, a big favorite against Southern. Pick: Washington, 16-14.

Public AAA Semifinal

Ben Franklin (7-2, 6-2) vs. Martin Luther King (7-2, 6-2), at Simon Gratz, 3:30. King has a solid pass-catch duo in Joseph Walker and Delane Hart. Pick: King, 40-16.

Sunday

Catholic AAA Semifinal

Bonner-Prendergast (2-7, 1-2) at Cardinal O'Hara (4-5, 2-1), 1. Bonner-Prendie will no doubt have in mind its recent overtime loss to the Lions. Pick: O'Hara, 34-23.

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