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The Reporter/Times Herald/Montgomery Media Football Team of the Decade semifinals preview

La Salle QB Chris Kane (7) sets to fire off a long pass during the La Salle College High School vs. Coatesville state semifinal football game December 7, 2012 at Downingtown West High School. (Tom Kelly IV/MediaNews Group File)

No one expected the Reporter/Times Herald/Montgomery Media Football Team of the Decade semifinals to look like this.

The top four seeds are eliminated. All six Archbishop Wood state championship teams are gone. Three of the final four teams are seeded in the double digits.

No. 5 Upper Dublin 2015 is the highest remaining seed while No. 10 North Penn 2010, No. 14 La Salle 2012 and No. 16 Pennridge 2012 round out the Final Four.

Fan voting will decide which teams advance to the championship. Make your picks on Twitter @ReporterSports. Polls run through Saturday at noon.

Let’s take a look at the two semifinal matchups.

No. 5 Upper Dublin 2015 vs. No 16 Pennridge 2012 >> The Cardinals enter the semifinals after beating No. 12 Cheltenham 2019 in the first round and No. 4 La Sale 2010 in the quarterfinals. The Rams beat top-seeded Archbishop Wood and No. 8 North Penn 2011 in the first two rounds.

Upper Dublin was dominant during its 14-1 District 1-4A championship season. The Suburban One League American Conference champs featured a five-game stretch – all league wins – where they outscored opponents 230-13. The three middle games were shutout wins over Springfield Montco, Wissahickon and Plymouth Whitemarsh. A 31-10 win over Hatboro-Horsham was their closest game of the regular season and a 24-14 victory against Pennsbury in the district semifinals was their closest win of the year. After beating North Penn, 46-21, in the district title game, the Cardinals season came to an end against Parkland, 30-14, in the PIAA-4A state semifinals.

Pennridge went 12-2 during its SOL Continental championship season that reached the District 1-4A semifinals. The Rams won 11 straight games after starting the season 1-1. Their season ended with a 35-24 loss to Spring-Ford, a game that came just two days after a Thanksgiving Day game against Quakertown that decided the league championship. They posted some close wins – identical 28-21 victories over SOL Continental rivals CB West and North Penn and 28-27 over Pennsbury in districts – and some blowouts – 31-7 over Council Rock South, 54-14 over Hatboro-Horsham and 35-14 over Abington.

No. 10 North Penn 2010 vs. No.  14 La Salle 2012 >> The Knights ride into the semifinals after upsetting No. 7 Archbishop Wood 2013 in the first round and beating No. 15 Pope John Paul II in the quarterfinals. The Explorers picked up wins over No. 3 Archbishop Wood 2017 and No. 6 North Penn 2016 in the first two rounds.

North Penn can’t be happy seeing La Salle across the field. The Knights 13-2 2010 season began with a loss to La Salle and ended with a loss to La Salle in the PIAA-4A state semifinals. Between those games, North Penn won an SOL Continental championship and a District 1-4A title. The Knights were dominant throughout the year. During their 13-game winning streak, the closest regular season game was a 35-20 win over Quakertown and the closest playoff game was 28-14 over CR South. In the district championship game, North Penn hammered Neshaminy 42-6. Their season ended the following week against La Salle, 38-35.

La Salle went 12-2 in 2012, winning the Philadelphia Catholic League 4A championship and reaching the PIAA-4A state semifinals. The Explorers avenged their only regular season loss – a 24-16 defeat against rival St. Joseph’s Prep – in the PCL title game, a 28-27 overtime thriller. Impressive non-league wins include a season-opening victory over North Penn, a regular season win over Malvern Prep and PIAA-4A state playoff wins over Frankford and Parkland. La Salle’s season ended in the state semifinals against Coatesville, 42-35.

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