Springfield-Academy Park highlight local playoff scene

Springfield and Academy Park have been in this situation before.
Delco’s most recent District One Class AAA finalists battled in the quarterfinal round back in 2011, when the No. 7 Knights pulled off a stunning blowout of the No. 2 Cougars.
This year, the roles are reversed. The Cougars are seeded eighth and will travel to Sharon Hill to play the top-seeded Knights Friday. Kickoff is 7 p.m.
Academy Park (10-0) is coming off its best regular season in 33 years. Led by a fearsome defense featuring defensive backs Teddy Wright and All-Delco Clarence Buchanan (nine interceptions), athletes Jamar Dembry and Jawan Collins, who has scored 14 touchdowns, and a 1,000-yard rusher in Jermaine Wesley, the Knights are the heavy favorite to win their second district title in three years.
Springfield has other ideas, but AP will be ready for a battle.
“People can’t sleep on us… we’ll be ready,” offensive lineman Nykeal Jalloh said following AP’s come-from-behind victory over Interboro to clinch the Del Val League title last Friday night. “We just have that drive to win and be great.”
Meanwhile, the Cougars (6-4) are riding a four-game winning streak. Dan Archibong caught three passes for three touchdowns in the win that sealed the Cougars’ postseason fate, a 34-7 rout of Penncrest. Archibong, who is a Temple commit, is one of the Cougars’ two-way stars. Matt Cella has anchored the offensive line and Kyle Long is a major threat running and receiving. Johnny Fanelli and Brandon DiChiacchio have shared time at quarterback with success.
In other District One Class AAA games:
No. 5 Interboro (8-2) at No. 4 Great Valley (7-3), 7
Despite a gutsy effort, the Bucs fell short of capturing their first Del Val League title since 2009, losing to Academy Park, 7-6, a week ago. The setback prevented the Bucs from potentially hosting a first-round playoff game, but they are back in districts yet again under the tutelage of Steve Lennox. The Bucs will rely on what’s got them to this point: A strong defensive front, buoyed by linemen Chase Pattinson and Steve Royer, as well as linebackers Danny Mea and Mike Chamberlin, while utilizing a solid rushing attack featuring Chris Thomas (843 yards, 10 touchdowns).
Great Valley isn’t quite the same team that blew out Springfield in the District One final last season. Tight end Kerry Tomasetti is a top target in the receiving game.
No. 6 Marple Newtown (8-2) at No. 3 Pottsgrove (7-3), 7
The Tigers are chasing after the school’s first District One playoff victory. Abel Hoff leads the county in receiving with 909 yards on 59 catches and nine TDs. Sophomore Anthony Paoletti has flourished as the starting quarterback.
Marple will have to contend with Pottsgrove running back Tyrell Barr, who leads the PAC-10 with 1,279 yards and 13 touchdowns in the Falcons’ run-oriented scheme. Deyon Doctor is a dual-threat at quarterback. Pottsgrove has been a perennial district title contender under longtime coach Rick Pennypacker.
In District One Class AAAA games:
No. 14 Garnet Valley (7-3) at No. 3 Upper Dublin (10-0), 7 p.m.
The Jaguars survived a Week 10 loss to Upper Darby to qualify for the playoffs for the fifth straight year. Derrick West rushed for a career-high 245 yards in the loss to Upper Darby last week. The senior West will follow the lead of linemen Chad Hrivnak, Sergey Plokhov and Justin George, who have been excellent all season.
Upper Dublin cruised to a SOL American title, outscoring opponents, 460-52. All of the Cardinals’ victories have come in blowout fashion. Last year, behind then-junior quarterback Ryan Stover, whose father, Bret, is the head coach, the Cards advanced to the district semifinal round.
No. 10 Perkiomen Valley (9-1) at No. 7 Haverford (9-1), 7
The Fords ride into the postseason on a nine-game winning streak (their lone defeat was at the hands of No. 2 Downingtown West in Week 1). Quarterback Jack Donaghy is the top quarterback in the county with 2,021 yards, 24 touchdown passes and a 67.1 completion percentage.
The Vikings will match fire with fire. Quarterback Stephen Sturm has thrown for 2,507 yards and 27 touchdowns for the PAC-10 second-place finishers, who had their nine-game winning streak snapped last week against No. 4 Spring-Ford.
No. 11 C.R. North (7-3) at No. 6 Upper Darby (9-1), 7
The Royals are in the district tournament for the second time in three seasons behind running back Isaiah Bruce, who leads all county rushers with 1,797 yards and 23 touchdowns.
C.R. North will go as far as South Carolina-bound quarterback Brandon McIlwain will take them. The senior led the Indians to the SOL Continental title.
In the District 1/12 Class A Sub-Regional:
No. 4 Calvary Christian (3-6) at No. 1 Delco Christian (9-1), 7
The reigning district champion Knights have reeled off eight straight victories, including a 41-17 rout of New Hope-Solebury last week for the Bicentennial League title. Quarterback Devin Hill and running backs Nazim Trammell-Wells (1,152 yards) and Amir Dorsey (882 yards) have fueled the Knights’ explosive run-heavy offense that is averaging 340 yards per game.
DC claimed a 34-7 win over Calvary last month.
Notes >> Super 7 No. 1 Haverford School (9-0) goes after its third consecutive Inter-Ac League championship Saturday when it closes out its season at seventh-ranked Episcopal Academy (6-3)… Bonner-Prendergast (4-5) travels to Archbishop Ryan and Archbishop Carroll (3-6) takes on Archbishop Wood in the Catholic League AAA semifinals Saturday… Radnor (6-4) and Lower Merion (2-8) meet as part of the Great American Rivalry Series Saturday afternoon. It marks the 119th year of the historic rivalry. Kickoff is 2 o’clock.

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