Cathedral Prep knocks off Imhotep in rubber match of championship games
HERSHEY, PA -
In the 2015 AAA football championship, the Imhotep Charter Panthers throttled the Cathedral Prep Ramblers 40-3. In the 2016 AAAA football championship, it was the Ramblers edging the Panthers 27-20. So for the third year in a row, the battle of Erie vs. Philadelphia took place at Hersheypark Stadium for the rubber match of these championship contests. On Thursday night, the Cathedral Prep Ramblers defeated the Imhotep Panthers 38-28 to claim the 2017 PIAA AAAA football championship.
District 10 champions Cathedral Prep, who had not lost all season, got the scoring started in the first quarter on a 4-yard touchdown run by Billy Lucas, which was set up by a 64-yard pass from quarterback Joe Mischler to wide receiver Terry Roberts.
With the Ramblers up 7-0 after one quarter of play, Imhotep responded midway through the second quarter with an 11-yard touchdown run by Tykee Smith, who was filling in for star running back/safety Isheem Young who is no longer with the team due to legal issues.
In a rare miscue on the night for Cathedral Prep, the Ramblers muffed the ensuing kick and the Panthers pounced on the loose football for the recovery. Imhotep capitalized on the turnover as Carl Jones took it into the end zone from five yards out to give his team a 13-7 lead.
After the two teams traded three-and-outs, the Ramblers took the lead back for good on a 17-yard touchdown pass from Mischler to Roberts, and the point after made it a 14-13 game with under a minute until halftime.
Then Imhotep made the first of several key mistakes in this game as they fumbled the ball trying to get a quick score before the half and Cathedral Prep recovered. The Ramblers were then able to send out kicker Anthony Lupo for a 37-yard field goal to make it 17-13 at the half.
To start the second half, Cathedral Prep went with an onside kick, and with Imhotep not ready for the surprise move, the Ramblers successfully recovered the ball. A few plays later, Lucas made a couple of cuts and dove into the end zone from 14 yards out.
Imhotep was able to respond well after the Ramblers took a 24-13 lead and had a nice drive all the way down to the Prep 2-yard line, setting up 1st-and-goal. But in another crucial mistake, Smith received the snap out of a Wildcat formation and fumbled the ball, and Cathedral Prep recovered it for the huge turnover.
Cathedral Prep put the nail in the coffin on their next drive, headlined by a huge 73-yard touchdown pass from Mischler to Tyler Oedekoven and finished off by a 4-yard rushing touchdown by Mischler.
Even with a couple of late touchdowns by Imhotep, that 14 point swing after the fumble on the 2-yard line by the Panthers, as well as the Ramblers 97-yard touchdown drive, put the game away.
Imhotep finishes the season with a record of 13-2, with their only other loss coming to Harrisburg in the first game of the year in late August.
Cathedral Prep finishes their perfect season with a record of 15-0 and their second consecutive PIAA AAAA football championship.