SHARON HILL >> Academy Park senior defensive tackle Kasai Crawford was a 3-year-old when he began playing flag football for the Sharon Hill Ramblers.
Knights junior outside linebacker Azeez Badmus was living in Nigeria when he was 3 and didn’t come to the United States until 2010.
The pair were members of the Academy Park defensive unit Friday night that limited Chester High to 103 yards of total offense — with 14 coming in the fourth quarter against some of the younger Knights, who were getting the rare chance to play in a varsity game — as the defending Del Val League champions began league play with a 34-0 victory at Knight Park.
The win was the sixth in a row for Academy Park, while Chester, which opened the season by knocking off defending Central League champ Haverford, fell to 2-4.
The Knights had a 16-0 lead before Chester ran a play that gained yardage, and they were up, 22-0, before the Clippers could get a first down.
Dazhon Miller’s 42-yard dash set up the first AP score, a 6-yard run by Skylor Fillis. After Chester went three-and-out, Academy Park took seven plays to go 66 yards for another score, this one a 25-yard run by Teddy Wright (15 carries, 105 yards).
Following another Chester punt, Miller, who gained 122 yards on eight carries and had a 68-yard run wiped out by a penalty, sprinted 68 yards on the first play of the second quarter to put the home team ahead, 22-0. Two snaps later, Chester earned its first first down.
“I’m happy we got off to a good start in the Del Val League,” AP head coach Jason Vosheski said.
By halftime, the Knights’ lead was 28-0 after the first of Demetrius Perkins’ two scoring runs. Chester accounted for only 38 yards of total offense in the first two quarters.
“You play every game like it could be your last,” said Crawford, whose father, Kasai Crawford, played linebacker for the 1996 Academy Park team. “We made a big deal about this game because it was a Del Val League game.
“We know this league has some good teams, but we’re the ones defending the title and we have to do what we can to make sure we can do that. It’s not about the shutout or who had what kind of stats. The big thing is that we got another ‘W.’”
Badmus had some catching up to do with his teammates when he began learning the game of football.
“I didn’t know that much about it,” he said. “I had played a little soccer, but that was just for having fun.”
Despite the fact that the AP defense kept Chester in check throughout the contest, Badmus knows the coaches will find things to work on when they look over the game film.
“They want us to attack the ball and do it fast,” he said. “We can stop the run because our defensive line makes it possible for us to make tackles. And we know our defensive backs will always have our backs.
“It’s great to know you have such good teammates.”
The Academy Park defense limited Chester to 14 yards on its first two series of the second half while the Knights drove 42 yards late in the third quarter for the second Perkins touchdown.
After the Knights lost a fumble midway through the fourth quarter, Badmus turned one Chester completion into a 3-yard loss to help AP get the ball right back.
Tarique Martin’s interception put the finishing touches on AP’s sixth win of the season.
“We know that now that we’re playing our league games, we’ll have to be ready every week,” Crawford said.