Semifinal showdown pits Neshaminy, St. Joe's Prep

St. Joseph's Prep's Olamide Zaccheaus outraces Parkland defenders in Saturday's 21-10 Hawks win.
St. Joseph's Prep's Olamide Zaccheaus outraces Parkland defenders in Saturday's 21-10 Hawks win. (LOU RABITO / Staff)
Posted: December 03, 2013

It's new territory for St. Joseph's Prep. Neshaminy was last there in 2004, when it came within a win of capturing state gold for the second time.

The Hawks, with a spread attack, and the run-happy Redskins are set to meet in a PIAA Class AAAA semifinal Saturday at 1 p.m. at Northeast's Charles Martin Memorial Stadium.

Neshaminy coach Mark Schmidt, along with several assistants, watched as the Prep ousted District 11's Parkland, 21-10, Saturday afternoon in Bethlehem.

Afterward, Schmidt, whose Redskins advanced Friday night with a surprising, 42-7 romp over District 1 rival North Penn, said about the Hawks: "They have a few weapons, don't they?"

While Neshaminy will be challenged by the Prep's many looks, including Wildcat runs by speedsters Olamide Zaccheaus and John Reid, it now knows which quarterback it will be facing Saturday.

Chris Martin, returning from a two-game hiatus caused by a left-knee injury in Week 11, took over for fill-in Jack Clements against the Trojans.

All Martin did in his comeback was complete 12 of 22 passes for 236 yards and a pair of touchdowns. He connected with Zaccheaus and Justin Montague for first-quarter scores of 48 and 29 yards, respectively.

Unlike his first 11 appearances this season, Martin, following orders from the Prep coaches, did not run at all. (He was charged with a carry on a third-quarter, intentional-grounding call.) Schmidt and Co. no doubt took note of that.

The Prep's defense held Parkland to 129 rushing yards on 43 attempts. Kareem Williams, who had erupted for 309 yards in the previous week's 42-0 romp over Easton, was held to 102 yards on 30 attempts.

This week in practice, the Hawks will draw up schemes to keep Neshaminy's D'Andre Pollard from running wild.

In 14 games this season, the 5-foot-7, 170-pound Pollard has carried 300 times for an area-best 2,798 yards (an average of 9.3 yards per attempt) and 38 TDs. He rushed 25 times for 235 yards and four touchdowns against North Penn.

Also, mostly in short-yardage situations, the Redskins sometimes turn to bruiser Denny Lord out of the Wildcat formation. Another option is fellow fullback Blake Sullivan.

Against North Penn, Neshaminy's defense notched two interceptions and allowed only 117 yards rushing and 24 passing through three quarters.

Two veterans. Archbishop Wood, seeking its second Class AAA state title in three seasons, will square off against undefeated Berwick in a 7 p.m. semifinal Friday at J. Birney Crum Stadium in Allentown.

Berwick, of District 2, is guided by George Curry. In his 37th season with the Dawgs, he has a career mark of 437-95-5 (.821 winning percentage).

Mike Carey, Wood's fourth-year defensive coordinator, has been on the sideline for 29 seasons. He spent 24 years at Central Bucks West (he was in charge of the Bucks in 2000) and one at North Penn.

Overall, Curry, 69, has been a coach for 44 years. At age 21, he began his head coaching career at Lake-Lehman.

Extra points. In the Prep's ousting of Parkland, nine of senior linebacker Ryan McNulty's 10 tackles were unassisted. Safeties Dillon DeIuliis and Vince Moffett (fourth-quarter pick) each made seven solo stops. End Jake Strain (six solos) and outside linebacker Tom Johnson (five) were involved in seven and six tackles, respectively. Strain recovered a third-quarter fumble that was caused by DeIuliis' hit of QB Devante Cross. . . . The Prep's Pat Walsh averaged 35.1 yards on eight punts. He neatly dodged the Trojans' Elijah Redmond to get off a first-quarter punt. . . . Cross, a sophomore, hit on 19 of 31 throws for 137 yards and a TD. . . . Jerry Magallanes, who led Father Judge to the 1981 Catholic League championship, was the head referee in Stanford's 27-20 home win Saturday over Notre Dame.

The Inquirer TOP 25


Last week's rankings in parentheses.

Rk. Team Rec.

1. Imhotep (1) 11-2

Tyliek Raynor rushed for a pair of scores in a 49-0 blowout of Catasauqua. Next: Saturday vs. Berks Catholic.

2. Neshaminy (4) 13-1

In a 42-7 romp over North Penn, the Redskins netted 322 yards on the ground. Next: Saturday vs. No. 4 St. Joseph's Prep.

3. Arch. Wood (2) 11-2

Joe Dutkiewicz chipped in two scores in a 42-14 win over Academy Park. Next: Friday vs. Berwick.

4. St. Joe's Prep (5) 10-3

Ryan McNulty was involved in 10 tackles in a 21-10 win over Parkland. Next: Saturday vs. No. 2 Neshaminy.

5. La Salle (6) 8-3

QB Kyle Shurmur and the Explorers averaged 28.9 points per game. Next: Season complete.

6. North Penn (3) 10-4

Luke Berry posted eight solo tackles in the loss to Neshaminy. Next: Season complete.

7. Pennsbury (7) 10-2

Charles Snorweah carried 145 times for 1,476 yards and 22 touchdowns. Next: Season complete.

8. Arch. Ryan (8) 8-3

Bobby Romano and the Raiders closed with four consecutive victories. Next: Season complete.

9. Malvern Prep (9) 8-2

Troy Gallen exploded for 17 touchdowns in the Friars' last four games. Next: Season complete.

10. Abington (10) 10-4

Craig Reynolds rushed for 2,104 yards and 31 touchdowns. Next: Season complete.

11. Garnet Valley (11) 11-1

12. Perk. Valley (12) 10-3

13. Acad. Park (13) 10-3

14. Glen Mills (14) 9-4

15. Pottsgrove (15) 11-1

16. Spring-Ford (16) 10-3

17. Frankford (17) 8-4

18. Down. West (18) 8-3

19. Coatesville (19) 9-2

20. W.C. Rustin (20) 10-1

21. Father Judge (21) 7-4

22. C.B. West (22) 9-3

23. West Catholic (23) 9-3

24. Unionville (24) 8-3

25. P-Whitemarsh (25) 8-3

Under consideration (listed alphabetically): Council Rock North (7-4), Episcopal Academy (8-3), Haverford School (6-5), Pennridge (8-4), Upper Dublin (9-2).

- Rick O'Brien


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