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November 24-30 2021 Scoreboard
Courtyard Philadelphia City Avenue

Northeast Once Again Falls Short

Written by: on Tuesday, November 23rd, 2021


The Northeast Vikings failed for a 5th straight attempt at advancing to the PIAA Quarterfinals suffering yet another defeat to CL member St. Joes Prep. The Vikings have won the highest class (6A) Public League title the last 5 years and played St. Joes Prep 4xs and La Salle 1 time. The first Prep matchup they lost 44-6 back in 2016. The following year with a more veteran team they fell 31-0, in 2018 they fell 49-14 and in 2019  after finally knocking off fellow Public League powerhouse Imhotep (8-0), they won the 6A Public League title and felt confident going into the City Title game prepared to finally knock the monkey off their back. However they were defeated 43-26 after jumping out to an 14-0 lead in the 1st quarter.  That game was the most successful Northeast has been offensively as their QB Charles Britt threw for over 300 yards & rushing they gained over 200 yards on the ground. The 2020 season was going to be the year the Vikings finally matched up with Prep and felt that would be the season they got over the hump with star recruits Elijah Jeudy, Tyreek Chappell (both at Texas A&M contributing & staring as true freshmen) along with 4 other players who would ultimately sign with Division 1 programs (Albany, Old Dominion). However just before training camp was to begin the School District of Philadelphia would announce they were cancelling the fall season for football for Public League teams and while the Catholic League continued play and qualified for state playoffs, the Public League teams were left home until the Spring 2021 when they had a condensed 4-5 game season. Elijah & Tyreek took their talents to Texas A&M early by opting for an early graduation (December 2020) to get a jump start on their collegiate football/academic careers and the Vikings would prepare for the 2021 season in their quest to finally get over the hump. They would face an tragic start to the season when projected starter & star WR Khyrie Isaac was murdered just a week prior to their first game.

A senseless act of violence left the team mourning, hurting and lost for words. They decided as a team to play this season in his honor. With limited practice time after his untimely death they would play a top team in New Jersey St. Joes and quickly fall behind 31-6 at halftime before finally getting some rhythm and mounting a comeback that fell short losing 31-18. The following week they would have their game against neighborhood rival Abraham Lincoln cancelled due to record flooding in the Philadelphia area. They would suffer another non league loss to another NJ ranked team in St. Peter’s Prep 34-0. The following week they were scheduled to play William Penn Charter and shortly before the team bus was to leave for the Penn Charter campus they were notified by the Penn Charter AD that someone on the team tested positive and they would have to cancel the game. The following week they’d play and defeat divisional opponent Martin Luther King and then have yet another game cancelled on them before playing powerhouse Imhotep which ended up being a 14-0 defeat. The next week up 8-0 on Olney at halftime prior to the 2nd half warmups they were informed Olney had to forfeit because of players being academically ineligible. They’d win their regular season finale against John Bartram in convincing fashion 34-6 earning a 1st round bye in the Public League 6A finals before meeting Lincoln in the semi finals where they would momentarily be down 8-6 before pulling away for a 38-16 win. In the Public League 6A finals they’d dominate Olney to the tune of a 30-0 win and begin a week of preparation for this all important city title game showdown with the mighty Hawks of St Joes Prep.

This game started off rocky for the Vikings as they surrendered two quick TDs to fall behind 14-0 to the Hawks and they were never able to rebound. That two score deficit took the life out of them and despite playing hard they once again failed to muster enough offense or generate enough stops defensively to topple the Hawks in route to a 41-6 setback. Offensively the Vikings pretty much started every possession backed up as Prep has the best kicker in the state in Sr. Antonio Chahada who boomed every kick into the endzone for touchbacks. This allowed Prep to blitz and load the box making it tough for the Vikings to establish their bread and butter running game. The Vikings would total 171 yards total offense with Jr. RB Terail Greene leading the way with 20 carries for tough 100 yards. Jr. Sabor Stevens would put the Vikings in scoring position with a beauty of a 39 yard pass to Sr. Geo Fabian that was followed by a 1 yard run by star do it all Ken Talley for the Vikings only score of the game. For now the Vikings will look forward to closing out the season and for seniors one last time to sport the red black and white uniforms with the rivalry game against Central high school for the Horse Trophy & obviously bragging rights.

So where do the Vikings go from here. They do possess tons of talent returning starting with Jr DE’s Kion Wright & Ronel Nukah who both have P5 offers already, Jr. sensation RB Terail Greene returns for his final season as well as Jr. QB Sabor Stevens so the foundation is there to build off this unpredictable and adversity filled season. The Vikings also have several offensive lineman returning keyed by Jr. G Tasir Davis who should get the attention of D1/D2 scouts this spring during the camp circuits and should once again be favorites for the Public League 6A title next season. The key to getting over the hump starts with increasing team strength as they were dominated by a strong Prep line on both sides of the ball as well as using the lessons from the tough losses this year to SJ Prep, St. Peters Prep, St. Joes & Imhotep which all started with slow starts. Obviously to compete with SJ Prep you need luck but also an influx of talent. Imhotep has had success against CL foes (Wood & LaSalle) by investing in their program to pretty much be all year around and I suspect NE after 5 straight City Title game appearances & losses will follow their blue print with the AD investing into the program (weight room/camps) so that they can not only make the City Title game but win and advance deep into the state playoffs.

Northeast Coach Eric Clark is a proud alum who played 3 years of Varsity before taking his talents to Towson University where he was a 3 year starter. He completes his first season as HC with a league championship and a good idea of what’s needed for his program from being just a public league power to a state powerhouse program. He admitted that Prep outpowered and over matched them but was proud of his kids for competing and the common theme throughout the season was battle and overcome adversity. From a game being halted at halftime, to multiple games cancelled for COVID to suddenly dealing with the loss of a player the Vikings will always remember the 2021 season for the chaos, life lessons and memories it gave them. One final kickoff remains on Thursday at 10:30am when they complete the season looking for win #6 on the season and most importantly retaining the golden horse that has resided at Northeast High since 2014.

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