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Delco Football Friday: League races are now down to nitty-gritty

Though it seems hard to believe, we are in the final stretch of the county football season. With three weeks to go before district playoffs, there’s plenty of intriguing answers yet to be answered: Can Springfield go undefeated and win the Central League? Can Penn Wood or Interboro knock off Academy Park and claim the Del Val League title? Can Cardinal O’Hara stay perfect?

Some of those questions may be answered this weekend. Here’s a look at the top five games to watch in Week 8:

Friday

Penn Wood (6-1) at Academy Park (7-0), 7

The Patriots have rebounded from their only loss of the season to No. 3 Haverford School last month with back-to-back blowouts over Glen Mills and Chichester. But Friday may be their toughest task, facing an Academy Park team that hasn’t lost at home in two years.

Answered Gleplay rushed for 160 yards with two TDs as Penn Wood downed Chichester, 45-22. Freshman quarterback Desman Johnson threw TD passes to Kennedy Poles and Rahiem Bowens.

The Knights have slaughtered every team that steps in their path. Last week, Glen Mills fell victim, 42-15. Jermal Martin had a kick return for a touchdown as well as an interception, while Dazhon Miller amassed 137 yards rushing and a pair of TDs.

“These are your legacy games,” AP coach Jason Vosheski said. “Can you be successful if you don’t win? Sure, but these are games you’re going to remember for the rest of your life. … We expect a battle.”

Marple Newtown (6-1) at Haverford (5-2), 7

The Tigers dropped a 17-14 decision to Ridley a week ago, leaving Springfield as the lone unbeaten in the Central League. Cameron Mathes had an interception and a pair of touchdown receptions. He finished with six catches for 122 yards. Junior quarterback Anthony Paoletti enjoyed another 200-yard passing night, but was intercepted twice in the second half.

The Tigers clash with a Fords team that’s won five in a row. Jack Farrell and Mike Romanofsky each notched a fumble recovery for a touchdown in Haverford’s 42-0 win over Harriton last Friday. Jordan Mosley caught his sixth touchdown pass of the year.

Cardinal O’Hara (6-0) vs. Conwell-Egan (5-1) at Truman H.S., 7

While it’s true that O’Hara hasn’t played a team with a winning record, the Lions are legit. They posted their third shutout of the season with a 28-0 rout of Lansdale Catholic a week ago. They feature the top-ranked defense in the county (108.8 ypg) and a dominant offensive line that has paved the way for a rushing attack that averages 221.9 yard per game. Quarterback Tommy O’Hara and wide receiver Justin Santilla have hooked up for six touchdown passes in the last three games.

Since their 22-20 defeat to Episcopal Academy the Eagles have reeled off four straight victories, including a 28-0 decision over Bishop McDevitt. This will be O’Hara’s biggest test of the season, bar none. The Eagles feature a potent rushing attack led by Patrick Garwo, who has 583 yards and seven TDs.

Haverford School (4-1) at Penn Charter (4-0), 3:15

The first week of Inter-Ac League competition features a couple of heavyweight battles, including this one. The Fords take their first step at a fourth consecutive title against the Quakers, who have won each of their games by 21 points or more. PC has a 27-0 victory over Interboro on its ledger, too.

Quarterback Tommy Toal and Mallik Twyman lead the way for the Fords, who pounded John Carroll (Md.), 49-12, in their last contest two weeks ago. Penn Charter quarterback Mike “Neeko” Hnatkowsky has thrown for nine touchdowns in four games.

Episcopal Academy (5-0) at Malvern Prep (3-2), 7

Following a bye week, the Churchmen are going for their first victory over Malvern since the perfect season of 2012. In its last outing, Episcopal received 100-yard rushing performances by Dee Wil Barlee and Kevin Daniel en route to a 14-7 win at Blair Academy (N.J.).

Malvern is coming off a 48-7 defeat to defending PIAA Class AAA champion Imhotep Charter two weeks ago. Kevin Doyle a big, strong quarterback and the Friars feature the stellar running back combination of O’Shaan Allison and Zac Fernandez.

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