After hours of deliberation, The Reporter/Times Herald/Montgomery Media sports staff is ready to reveal the field for the best football team of the 2010s.
These teams all have common characteristics. Every team in the field won at least 10 games and had key postseason wins. A great decade of football means some other teams checked these boxes, but were left on the outside looking in.
Without further ado, here are your top 16 teams of the 2010s.
No. 1 Archbishop Wood 2011 >> The Vikings first of six state championship teams earned the top spot on this list. Wood won 14 straight games to end the year with a 14-1 record. The Philadelphia Catholic League AAA champs tallied a dominant, 42-7, win over St. Joseph’s Prep and won their three state playoff games by a combined total of 163-36. Cousins Desmon and Brandon Peoples both ran for over 1,000 yards and each scored at least 20 touchdowns.
No. 2 Archbishop Wood 2014 >> This Wood team also finished the season 14-1 – its only loss coming against La Salle. The Vikings average margin of victory in its three state playoff games was 33.3 points. Jarrett McClenton led the PCL and PIAA 3A champs with more than 2200 yards on offense and 38 touchdowns.
No. 3 Archbishop Wood 2017 >> The 2017 Vikings finished the year 12-2 with PCL and PIAA 5A championship trophies. They ended the season on a 10-game winning streak, scoring 31 or more points in all 10 games. The offense continued in their three state games, where they scored at least 41 points in each game. Nasir Peoples rushed for 267 yards and four touchdowns on 25 carries in the state title game. On the season, he had over 1800 rushing yards and 29 touchdowns.
No. 4 La Salle 2010 >> The Explorers went 13-2 in 2010, suffering losses against New Jersey power Bergen Catholic, 22-21, and North Allegheny, 21-0, in the state championship game. The PCL 4A champs went 2-0 against a North Penn team that might show up later on this list. Jamal Abdur-Rahman led the offense with 1767 rushing yards and 29 total touchdowns.
No. 5 Upper Dublin 2015 >> The Cardinals went 14-1 en route to a District 1-4A championship in 2015. The Suburban One League American Conference champs demolished North Penn, 46-21, in the district final. Stacey Gardner rushed for four touchdowns in the game and Ryan Stover totaled 300 yards of offense. Their season ended in the state semifinals against Parkland.
No. 6 North Penn 2016 >> The Knights went 14-1 and captured an SOL Continental title in 2016 behind a prolific season from Reece Udinski. The quarterback threw for 4119 yards and 39 touchdowns on the season. Ricky Johns caught 54 passes for 1296 yards and 11 touchdowns while Nick Dillon ran for 1046 yards and 23 scores. They beat Garnet Valley, 48-38, in the District 1-6A championship before losing to St. Joe’s Prep in the state semifinals.
No. 7 Archbishop Wood 2013 >> The Vikings second state championship team of the decade checks in at No. 7. The Vikings went 13-2 — suffering losses to St. Joe’s Prep and Archbishop Ryan — before winning the 3A PCL and PIAA championships. McClenton totaled more than 1900 yards and 29 touchdowns on the season.
No. 8 North Penn 2011 >> The SOL Continental champs won the District 1-4A championship, 34-14, over Council Rock South. Ralph Reeves scored four touchdowns on five carries for 11 yards in the game. Corey Ernst quarterbacked the team to a 13-3 record, throwing for 2144 yards and 25 touchdowns. A balanced rushing attack resulted in three players with at least 686 yards on the ground. North Penn beat La Salle in the PIAA-4A semifinals before losing the championship to Central Dauphin.
No. 9 Archbishop Wood 2016 >> The Vikings won 11 straight games in 2016 after starting the season 0-2-1. The PCL and PIAA 3A champions featured a two-headed monster of Shawn Thompson and Raheem Blackshear. Both totaled over 1200 rushing yards, 240 receiving yards and 20 total touchdowns.
No. 10 North Penn 2010>> The District 1-4A champs went 13-2 in 2010. The SOL Continental champs won 13 straight games between season opening and season ending losses to La Salle. They won the district title with a 42-6 thrashing of Neshaminy before bowing out in the state semifinals. Craig Needhammer and Dom Taggart each ran for more than 1100 yards and at least 16 touchdowns.
No. 11 Archbishop Wood 2019 >> The Vikings most recent state championship team went 11-3. Compared to the other five PIAA champions, the 2019 team played close playoffs games. They beat Gateway 24-21 in the semifinals and Cheltenham 19-15 for the title. Max Keller found Cardel Pigford with four seconds left to lift the Vikings over the Panthers.
No. 12 Cheltenham 2019 >> The Panthers check in one spot behind a Wood team they were four seconds away from beating. The District 1-5A and SOL American champs went 14-2 in the greatest season in school history. Adonis Hunter found TJ Harris for a touchdown and two-point conversion to give Cheltenham a seven-point lead over Academy Park in the district championship game with less than 30 seconds left. Academy Park managed to get into the end zone, but Cheltenham denied their two-point attempt.
No. 13 Upper Dublin 2018 >> The Cardinals went 12-2 to win the SOL American title and their second district championship in four years. Mike Slivka threw for 231 yards and one touchdown and ran for 38 yards and two touchdowns in the 35-28 District 1-5A title win over West Chester Rustin. Upper Dublin needed a goal line stand and a 3rd-and-10 conversion from their own one-yard line to secure the game.
No. 14 La Salle 2012 >> The Explorers went 12-2 in 2012 and tallied one of their more memorable wins of the decade. They beat St. Joe’s Prep, 29-28 in overtime, to capture the PCL 4A championship. Sean Coleman caught 14 passes for 138 yards and four touchdowns — including the OT game-winner — against the rival Hawks. La Salle reached the state semifinals, where they lost to Coatesville.
No. 15 Pope John Paul II 2019 >> The Golden Panthers won their first District 1/12-3A subregional championship in 2019. PJP, which finished the season 10-3, beat previously undefeated Neumann-Goretti, 29-28. Dylan Walker and a host of teammates stopped NG on a two-point conversion with 1:06 remaining in the game. Quarterback Kamal Gray threw for 2642 yards and 38 touchdowns on the season while rushing for 482 yards and seven more scores.
No. 16 Pennridge 2012 >> The Rams went 12-2 in 2012 en route to a District 1-4A semifinal appearance. The semifinal loss against Spring-Ford came two days after Pennridge needed to beat Quakertown on Thanksgiving for the outright SOL Continental championship. Mike Class led the offense with 2408 rushing yards and 32 rushing touchdowns, adding another 107 yards and two scores through the air.
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