Cory Downing off to the races for 52 yard td reception
Last year the Panthers lost a tough one in overtime to Penn Trafford 17-14. This year many didn’t give Imhotep a chance to get back to the title game. They proved those people wrong by getting there, but they ran into a Pine-Richland team that began hitting on all cylinders mid season and they kept that engine running tonight as they defeated the Panthers handily 28-14. “A lot of people said we weren’t going to get here but our kids battled all year to get back” said Imhotep head coach Devon Johnson. “That makes this one a little tougher”.
The Panthers just didn’t have an answer for the Rams offensive line and quarterback Ryan Palmieri, who ran for 198 yards and scored 4 times three different ways. The Imhotep defense struggled from the start with the Rams line. Pine-Richland drove the length of the field but two bad snaps gave the Panther defense some breathing room and the made the stop on fourth down. That drive at up over 6 minutes of the first period. On the ensuing drive Mikal Davis Jr. hit Cory Downing on a crossing pattern and the speedster went the distance to put Imhotep up 7-0 late in the first.
Pine-Richland responded with another long drive, eventually scoring on a short td run by Palmieri to tie the game at 7. Imhotep failed to move the ball on their next drive and the Rams responded driving to inside the Tep 5 but the defense held and the Rams missed a short field goal just before the first half ended. In the half there were only 5 offensive series’. Three for the Rams and the Panthers had two chances.
On their first series of the second half, Palmieri picked off Davis and ran it back for his second td. On the play Johann Hennigan ran into the referee, making for an easy interception for Palmieri. Imhotep responded with a nice drive deep into Rams territory and nearly scored on another connection between Davis and Downing but the ball was just a couple inches long for the receiver to catch in the endzone. Then on fourth down Hennigan dropped a pass that could have gone for six.
On their next series Palmieri dropped a perfect pass into the hands of Bradford Gelly who got to the 20 of the Panthers. A long run by Palmieri the an short td run put the Rams up 21-7. Then with 10:36 left Ryan delivered the clincher with a 30 yard td pass to Luke Rudolph.
Imhotep responded with a td drive of their own, capped by a short td run by Davis but it just wasn’t enough. “The Rams were the better team tonight” said Johnson. Hats off to them.
“Nobody expected us to get here after losing 22 seniors” said a dejected Davis after the game. “We will be back next year. I don’t like this feeling. This one was a tough one. This is how men are made. We will learn from this and come back.”