PHILADELPHIA >> Heading into the second half of Friday night’s game, Malvern Prep faced a managable eight-point hole on the road against perennial District 12 power Imhotep Charter.
After a sloppy first half featuring more punts and penalties than points, both teams tried to adjust in the locker room.
Imhotep’s changes worked, and the Panthers pulled away for a 28-14 win over a Malvern Prep team that is still searching for its first win of the season.
Imhotep spoke all week about not beating themselves against the Friars, said Panthers coach Nick Lincoln, In their last few matchups, self-inflicted mistakes led to their demise and at the start of the game, it looked like that trend would continue.
After forcing a punt on Malvern’s first drive, Imhotep rolled down the field, only to give the ball right back within striking distance. Malvern and Imhotep would go back and forth through the half until Imhotep scored for the first time with less than one minute left on the clock.
“We started off slow and had some penalties that ruined drives,” Lincoln said. “Eventually we started to get some momentum and the kids started to know what it felt like to be victorious. You know we just kept pushing. We have some young guys in key positions for us so this experience is going to help us build in our league play which we’ll need going forward.
“Malvern did a good job of scouting us and scheming us up,” Lincoln continued. “We had to make some adjustments at halftime. I credit my assistant coaches with being able to make up the plays, but we stayed true to the script. We ran downhill on them.”
Behind Imhotep’s Jalen Sutton and Saint McLeod, the Panthers ran for three touchdowns. As the clock continued to tick down, Imhotep got into a rhythm and the holes became even bigger.
Despite the final score, Malvern Prep seemed like it might be able to stay in the game right until the end, especially with Malvern’s Lonnie White Jr. catching 10 passes. But Imhotep’s bend-but-don’t-break mentality kept the Panthers in front by keeping Malvern Prep out of the endzone.
“I thought we played a little too inconsistent,” said Malvern Prep Coach Dave Gueriera. “We need to be more disciplined as a team, and we weren’t. Defensively, we put them in good situations for us, but we let them out. Third and 17, fourth and 14. We have to be able to get off the field at that point and we don’t. I thought we made more mistakes than they did.”
“Offensively, we had offensive holding and a pick-six,” Gueriera continued. “We have a freshman quarterback and he’s going to make some mistakes with the ball. We have to live with it and get better. The theme of the week was whoever makes the least amount of mistakes is going to win the game and we made more mistakes.”
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