Philadelphia’s Imhotep Institute pulls past Cardinals
By Joe Catullo Jr.
When Cardinal Mooney trailed by a touchdown late in the second quarter against Imhotep Institute Charter, players and fans could feel the momentum swinging.
The Cardinals began the drive at the Imhotep 7-yard line after a blocked punt. But three plays later, including a dropped pass from Pat Kelty that went through his hands, Zak Kennedy missed a 34-yard field goal attempt.
The Panthers then drove 80 yards into the end zone and killed the Cardinals’ momentum. Imhotep led by two touchdowns at halftime and won, 49-21.
“It was a 14-point swing there,” Mooney coach P.J. Fecko said. “We blocked a punt and had all kinds of momentum, but we did a very poor job of trying to get it in the end zone.”
Mooney (0-1) had another momentum-swinging opportunity early in the third quarter. Mark Handel intercepted Andre Dreuitt-Parks and returned it 35 yards for a touchdown, cutting the deficit to 28-21.
The Panthers’ (1-0) rushing attack and stout second-half defense did not allow the Cardinals anything from that point on. Imhotep allowed 68 yards in the second half while rushing for 352 total yards and four touchdowns.
“As the game progressed in the second half, we were playing a little more of catch-up and had to take more chances and that kind of stuff that you have to do when you fall behind,” Fecko said.
The Panthers’ rushing game began when the game started, and it took them less than two minutes to score twice. After an opening touchback, Nasir Bonner ran an 80-yard touchdown on a play action draw.
Forty-seven seconds later, the Cardinals answered back with a Mark Handel 68-yard run and an Anthony Dermotta 2-yard score.
Fifty-nine seconds later, Bonner scored his second touchdown with a 9-yard run that gave the Panthers a 14-7 lead. Bonner finished with 137 yards on 13 carries.
Then with 47 seconds remaining in the first quarter, Deandre Scott, a player with 37 Division I offers, ran for a 97-yard touchdown that put the Panthers ahead by 14 points. Scott later ran an 8-yard touchdown late in the third quarter that put Imhotep ahead, 36-21. He finished with 126 yards on six carries.
“We knew going in that big plays were a concern of ours,” Fecko said. “Our goal is to not give up big plays, and in that whole process didn’t do a good job.”
Not only did the Panthers score twice within the game’s first two minutes, but they also ended the game the same way. This time it was on defense.
Shaquille Jones returned Jon Saadey’s first interception 71 yards for a touchdown with 1:25 left in the game. Then Zahir Wright returned Saadey’s second pick 75 yards with no time remaining.
“It’s amazing,” Imhotep coach Al Crosby said regarding the game. “And playing the likes of Cardinal Mooney, this is a team two years ago that won a state championship. We did our research on these guys, and it was just an honor to be able to be out here and take the field with them.”