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September 17, 2021

PhillyVoice high school football Top 10: La Salle replaces St. Joe’s Prep as area’s new No. 1

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La-Salle-HS-football Photo courtesy of La Salle Athletics/for PhillyVoice

There's a new No. 1 in town...

It’s been a while. About four years. For the first time since 2017, the area has a new No. 1 team and it’s La Salle.

The Explorers are 3-0 this season with victories over Bishop McDevitt (Harrisburg), Malvern Prep and now a very good Imhotep Charter team, 13-8, last weekend. It’s the same Imhotep team that started the season with victories over Pittsburgh Central Catholic (12-6) and Maryland giant DeMatha Catholic (14-10) — the same DeMatha that beat South Jersey’s No. 1 team, Holy Spirit, 28-7, in its season opener.

For the first time in four years, St. Joe’s Prep falls from the top spot, after its 28-21 loss to Milton, a very good public school program from Georgia ranked No. 75 nationally. The loss snapped the Hawks’ 18-game winning streak that went back to 2019. It’s a game the Hawks were in a position to win — and they know it.

La Salle, which struggled offensively against arguably the state’s best PIAA 5A defense, used a late ground game and a costly Imhotep mistake to win in the end.

“We beat a really good football team in Imhotep when we weren’t at our best, but we have a saying on our team this year, and it’s ‘So what, now what,’” said La Salle senior linebacker Abdul Carter, who is going to Penn State. “I believe this is the start of some good things. Speaking to the seniors on our team we know this is our chance to do something special. We are taking it one game at a time, but the seniors on this team have never beaten Prep.

“When the time comes to play Prep, we’ll be ready.”

That time will come two weeks from now, when Prep and La Salle meet on Saturday, Oct. 2 at Penn’s legendary Franklin Field.

This week, Prep hosts Gonzaga Prep (DC) this Friday 7 p.m. at Franklin Field, La Salle hosts Haverford School this Friday at 7 p.m. at Wissahickon High School, and Archbishop Wood hosts Malvern Prep on Saturday at 1 p.m. at Franklin Field.

In District 1 Class 6A, undefeated Downingtown East hosts undefeated Bishop Shanahan at 7 p.m., undefeated Upper Dublin travels to undefeated North Penn on Friday at 7 p.m. and on the South Jersey side, St. Augustine Prep hosts St. Joseph’s (Hammonton) on Friday at 6 p.m.

The PhillyVoice Area Top 10

Week of Sept. 17, 2021

1. La Salle (3-0)

2. St. Joseph's Prep (1-1)

3. Archbishop Wood (3-0)

4. Imhotep Charter (2-1)

5. North Penn (3-0)

6. Holy Spirit (NJ) (2-1)

7. St. Augustine Prep (NJ) (2-1)

8. Garnet Valley (3-0)

9. Millville (NJ) (3-0)

10. Downingtown East (3-0)

Under consideration: Neumann-Goretti (1-1), Northeast (0-2), Salem (NJ) (3-0), Malvern Prep (1-1), Cedar Creek (NJ) (3-0), St. Joseph Academy (NJ) (2-1), Ocean City (NJ) (3-0), Woodrow Wilson (NJ) (1-1), Winslow (NJ) (3-0), Academy Park (3-0), Coatesville (2-1), Upper Dublin (3-0).

The PhillyVoice Southeastern PA Top 10

Week of Sept. 17, 2021

1. La Salle (3-0)

2. St. Joseph’s Prep (1-1)

3. Archbishop Wood (3-0)

4. Imhotep Charter (2-1)

5. North Penn (3-0)

6. Garnet Valley (3-0)

7. Downingtown East (3-0)

8. Coatesville (2-1)

9. Neumann-Goretti (1-1)

10. Malvern Prep (1-1)

Under consideration: Neumann-Goretti (1-1), Northeast (0-2), Academy Park (3-0), Upper Dublin (3-0), Chester (3-0), Germantown Academy (2-0), Quakertown (3-0), Strath Haven (3-0), Conwell-Egan (3-0), Bishop Shanahan (3-0).

Joseph Santoliquito is an award-winning sportswriter based in the Philadelphia area who has been writing for PhillyVoice since its inception in 2015 and is the president of the Boxing Writers Association of America. He can be followed on Twitter here.