Penn Wood in prime rankings position after favorable ruling

By Matt Smith

It’s official: Penn Wood is 3-0 for the first time since 2010.

It was a controversial decision, one that raised plenty of questions and complaints, but the Patriots were declared winners of their weather-shortened, nonleague game with Council Rock North at Kerr Field last Friday night.

Like all other teams in the county, Penn Wood was unable to play a full 48 minutes due to rain and lightning. The Patriots held an 8-0 lead at halftime before officials, coaches and athletic directors concluded the game should not be completed. CR North officials had no desire to reschedule and take the long bus ride back to Yeadon. Penn Wood officials, however, including athletic director Rap Curry and head coach Ato Troop, weren’t particularly fond of this idea. Who can blame them? The teams had already played one half of football, after all, and the Patriots were winning the entire way.

While the Penn Wood people were open to rescheduling for Saturday night, they didn’t see the logic in pretending the game never existed, which is what winless CR North wanted. Understandably, that made little sense to Penn Wood.

The powers-that-be from District 1 ruled over the weekend that the Patriots are the winners. This obviously helps them in terms of their standing in the District 1 Class 5A rankings. In essence, Penn Wood gets several bonus points from their victory over a Class 6A program. As a Class 5A team for the first time this season, Penn Wood will be the recipient of bonus points every time it defeats a 6A team. So far, the Pats are 3-for-3 against 6A squads.

With an average of 163.33points after three games, the Patriots are currently in second place in the District 1 Class 5A rankings. All stats accrued by Penn Wood count. And that’s important because they have a few players who could make some history in the next year or two.

Junior quarterback Desman Johnson Jr. continues to lead Delaware County in passing efficiency with a rating of 214.97, despite his small workload last Friday. He completed three passes for 29 yards and no touchdowns. For the season Johnson is second in Delco behind Chichester’s Nate DeCenzi (638) with 575 passing yards. Johnson, who has played varsity since his freshman season, is on pace to shatter the career passing record in Delco next fall.

All-Delco wide receiver Kennedy Poles continues his journey to become the career receiving leader in the county. He has at least seven more games to catch Sun Valley great Ray Withelder, who amassed 2,851 yards for the Vanguards from 1996-99. With 2,145 yards in three-plus years at Penn Wood, Poles needs 707 yards to set the county record.

•••Garnet Valley didn’t have its greatest offensive performance in last Saturday’s thriller at Haverford High. The Jags overcame four giveaways and scored the winning touchdown with 11 seconds to play in regulation. A lot of credit goes to an outstanding defensive effort, but it was senior quarterback Cole Palis’ perseverance and drive to win after tossing what should’ve been a back-breaking interception in the end zone early in the fourth quarter that enabled the Jags to remain undefeated.

Needless to say, the Jags’ willingness to overcome adversity was not lost on head coach Mike Ricci.

“That’s what I told the kids after the game. The thing that makes this team special is the way they respond when things don’t go their way,” he said. “They pick each other up. We had several turnovers and uncharacteristic things that held us back. (Haverford) has a dangerous offense to get the ball off of turnovers. But in each of those instances, our guys responded They showed poise and togetherness, they didn’t let anybody get down and then they came back and made plays after that. I was very proud of the way our kids responded and overcame those things to win us the football game.”

••• Academy Park quarterback Skylor Fillis was named Del Val League player of the week after leading the Knights to a 38-22 triumph at Great Valley. Fillis passed for 120 yards and two touchdowns and ran for 107 yards and a score. He is the only Delco quarterback with at least two 100-yard rushing performances.

The Del Val coaches issued positional MVPs to the following players: Fillis (quarterback), Penn Wood’s Elijah Gleplay (running back), Chichester’s Damian Thompson (receiver), Academy Park’s Xavier Newman (offensive line), Academy Park’s Urenser Nankay (defensive line), Chichester’s Marquell Hudnell (linebacker) and Academy Park’s Rasheed Coles (defensive back).

••• Bonner & Prendergast has been playing musical chairs with its quarterback situation since Anthony DiGalbo graduated. Perhaps the Friars have finally found their No. 1 guy.

Kyle Lazer was perfect in a 2713 win against St. Paul’s (Md.) last Saturday, completing all seven passing attempts for 94 yards and two TDs.

Meanwhile, Charlie Ingram continues to impress out of the backfield. One week after posting 96 yards and three scores, Ingram gained 147 yards on 29 carries.

Lazer, Ingram and the Friars travel to the South Philadelphia Supersite Saturday night to play Neumann-Goretti.

•••MOVING THE CHAINS » Keed Kpoto ran for 204 yards and two TDs in Cardinal O’Hara’s 21-7 victory over Sun Valley last Saturday. He is the first Lions rusher to gain 200 or more yards in a game since Bill Morgan in 2008. … Strath Haven’s Zack Hussein is the top rusher in Delco with 404 yards. … Ridley is 0-3 for the first time since the merger of Ridley Township, Ridley Park and Eddystone high schools in 1966.