Rivals Northeast & Central advance in semis to meet in Pub 6A championship
PHILADELPHIA, PA -
With the two games being played only five miles apart in the Northeast section of Philadelphia on Friday afternoon, the Northeast Vikings defeated the visiting Martin Luther King Cougars, 47-20, while the Central Lancers knocked off the South Philadelphia Rams, 20-12, at George Washington High School. This sets up a rivalry battle for the championship as Central will go to Northeast to take on the Vikings for the Philadelphia Public League 6A Championship.
The Vikings started fast against the Cougars with two quick scores in the first quarter - a 2-yard rushing touchdown by Danny Scott and a 25-yard run by Sameen Thompson - to race out to a 14-0 lead. King did respond with a touchdown pass at the beginning of the second quarter, but that's as close as the Cougars would get.
For a majority of the second quarter, Northeast continued to do what they do best - run the ball. Scott scampered ten yards for another score, followed by a big 45-yard rushing touchdown by Thompson. Then Ubayd Steed got in on the action with a 5-yard touchdown run and all of a sudden Northeast was up 34-6.
King did score on a touchdown pass at the end of the second quarter, but Northeast, who does not throw the ball that often, scored on a touchdown pass of their own before halftime as Jaye McNeil connected from 13 yards away with wide receiver Cole Greenjack; this gave Northeast a convincing 41-12 lead into the locker room.
In the third quarter, McNeil hit Thompson for a 21-yard touchdown pass and one more touchdown pass by King in the fourth quarter completed the scoring.
Scott finished with 20 carries for 151 yards and two touchdowns, while Thompson had only six rushes for 91 yards and two scores on the ground, in addition to his one reception for a receiving touchdown. McNeil was three of six through the air for 46 yards and two touchdowns, and also carried the ball 16 times for 51 yards on the ground.
While Northeast dominated from start to finish, Central had to come from behind in their game. South Philly started the scoring on an 82-yard touchdown run by Dwayne Parks, accounting for the only score of the first quarter.
The final two minutes of the second quarter were filled with excitement. First with 1:50 remaining, Central wide receiver Soosung Whang took a screen pass down the left sideline 69 yards for a touchdown to tie the game at 6-6. Then Southern answered on a 35-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Sherriff Jones to wide receiver Khalid Moore, giving Southern a 12-6 lead with 15 seconds left.
But then Central got favorable field position off the ensuing Southern kickoff, and then Lancer quarterback Aquil Robinson hit Deshawn Wiggins for a 39-yard passing touchdown as time expired. With the extra point, Central took a 13-12 lead into the half - a lead the Lancers would never relinquish after a defensive battle in the second half.
For Central, Whang had the big stat line on the day, finishing with six receptions for 114 yards and the big touchdown in the first half.
Northeast and Central will face off on Friday, November 10 for the Public League 6A Championship. The winner will face the winner of LaSalle/St. Joseph's Prep in the District 12 6A Championship. The loser of the game, even though they will be disappointed, will have a chance for revenge in the annual Northeast-Central Thanksgiving morning game on November 23.
Photo Credit: Jack E. Kapp