By John Knebels – contributors: videographer/editor Zamani Feelings: Editor/graphics Austin Amepeloquio
INTER-ACADEMIC LEAGUE FOOTBALL PREVIEW
The Inter-Academic Football League is unique unto its own. Six high schools make up the entire league; Episcopal Academy, Germantown Academy, The Haverford School, Malvern Preparatory, William Penn Charter and Springside Chestnut Hill Academy. The schedule consists of five weeks, with each team playing each other once. The league is intense with every game being considered a playoff game to determine the Inter-Ac Champion.
Philly Sports Digest gives you a glimpse of the hard work and grit that goes into each practice and players to watch…before the coin toss this Friday.
Take a look at the Inter-Academic League standings and a definitive suggestion emerges – there is an enormous amount of talent among the six squads.
Through six weeks – all against non-league opponents, since league plays begins October 12 – the Inter-Ac has accrued a composite 26-5 record and on average scores more than 33 points per game. Two programs are undefeated; three have only lost once, and another is at .500.
Since the turn of the 21st century, Malvern Prep has dominated. The Friars have won seven outright titles – including last season – and shared four others. The Friars’ 33 overall titles (outright and shared) are second only to Penn Charter’s 48 (but none since 2006) and not that far ahead of Haverford School’s 28, Episcopal Academy’s 25, and Germantown Academy’s 24.
Clearly, the team to beat in 2018 remains Malvern. The Friars (6-0) are a team loaded with four first-team senior selections on offense (quarterback Drew Gunther, wide receiver Keith Maguire, lineman Jake Hornibrook, and all-purpose performer Quincy Watson) and two seniors on defense (linebacker Keith Maguire and back TyGee Leach). Senior Nick Gueriera is a second-team linebacker.
Impressive victories include margins of 35-23 over LaSalle, 28-25 over Peddie (NJ), and 42-32 over Berks Catholic. Gunther has completed 78 of 145 passes for 1,338 yards and 13 touchdowns, including tossing a three-spot in consecutive games and a school-record 386 yards against Berks Catholic.
MALVERN PREP FOOTBALL
Malvern's receiving statistics are off the charts. Senior Ryan Iacone (22 catches for 340 yards), Leach (7 for 301), sophomore Lonnie White (16-256), and junior Ryan Maguire (9-216) provide headaches for opposing coaches. The much- ballyhoooed and aforementioned Keith Maguire is the unquestioned leader on a defense that has intercepted 12 passes. Maguire, who joins junior teammate James Hayes for a team-leading three picks (junior Cade Szostek and Leach have two apiece), has committed to play at Clemson University next year. He has already scored eight touchdowns - four rushing, two receiving, and two on interception returns.
MP head coach Dave Gueriera talks about the advantages of playing an intense league schedule.
MP senior LB Nick Gueriera talks about his team's bond and awareness on and off the field.
MP senior QB Drew Gunther talks about building off of each game and the special brother-hood that exists within his team.
Germantown Academy (5-0) is working on a two shutout streak, an almost unheard of feat. The Patriots rely much on a trio of underclassmen. Sophomore quarterback Jordan Longino is 49 of 73 for 668 yards and seven touchdowns; he has also scored four on the ground. His key receiver is sophomore Jerry Griffen-Batchler, whose 18 catches have resulted in 289 yards and four touchdowns.
As a defensive back, Griffen-Batchler intercepted two passes against Frankford. In the backfield, junior Trae Vance has gained 607 yards and collected eight TDs - he's scored in every game - on 78 jaunts.
Germantown Academy senior Elijah Wroten, a Duke University commit, helps pace the Patriots’ offensive and defensive line. The 6-4, 310 pounder recently scored his first touchdown on a two-yard plunge against KIPP DuBois. Earlier this season against Simon Gratz, Wroten’s tackle for a safety late in the fourth quarter sealed a 36-24 victory.
Football Preview 2018
Senior teammate Justin Wajda is in the middle of his fourth year on the offensive line and has helped open holes for GA’s runners and protect Longino for a combined 1,500-plus yards from scrimmage.
GA head coach Matt Dence talks about his squad's strengths and the challenges of the Inter-Ac League.
GA senior RT Justin Wajda talks about his team's motivation and to forget the naysayers.
GA senior DL/OL Elijah Wroten talks about his team's mood and enthusiasm this season.
Penn Charter (4-1) has won three straight and has scored 35 or more points in four games. When considering superstar status, look no further than Ed Saydee.
Also a first-team defensive back, Saydee has averaged more than 10 yards per carry (70 for 768) and has found the end zone on 15 occasions - 11 via rush, two by kickoff, one by punt, and another by interception.
Now the all-time record holder for PC rushing yards, Saydee currently has a three-game streak of scoring four touchdowns, believed to be a Quaker first.
Football Preview 2018
In addition to having Saydee on defense, Terence Thompson has made life difficult for both runners and receivers. The first-team linebacker also plays fullback.
PC head Coach Tom Coyle talks about the benefits of a strong non-league schedule.
PC senior DB Ed Saydee says his team is ready for this Inter-Ac season.
PC senior LB Terence Thompson talks about his team's dynamics.
Springside-Chestnut Hill (4-1), which shared the title with Malvern and Haverford School in 2009, scored 56 against Father Judge in its opener and then most recently 58 against the Hill School.
Senior quarterback Aaron Angelos (three rushing TDs) has completed 54 of 89 for 970 yards and 12 touchdowns, all of them to junior Ke-Shawn Williams (seven) and senior all-leaguer Pat Elliot (five).
The combination of senior Rob Gentile (54 carries, 420 yards, five TDs) and junior Aaron Rascoe (42-349-4) power the backfield contribution.
Springside-Chestnut Hill Academy
Football Preview 2018
SCHA head coach Rick Knox talks about the intensity of the Inter-Ac League.
SCHA senior QB Aaron Angelos is looking forward to this season and his veteran O line.
SCHA senior WR Pat Elliot talks about his team's work ethic.
Episcopal Academy (3-1) has demonstrated balance in the run game. Three different Churchmen have led the team in rushing.
It’s a different ballgame with receiving, where senior Jack Bush is tops in receptions with 11 and yards with 231. Standout Churchmen include junior quarterback Maurcus McDaniel (40 of 66 for 538 yards and three TDs) and senior all-leaguer DeeWil Barlee (five touchdowns runs), a first-team all-leaguer on both offense and defense.
Football Preview 2018
Second-team senior offensive lineman Ryan Rockenbach returns, as does second-team senior lineman Jack Purcell.
EA head coach Todd Fairlie talks about what makes the Inter-Ac League unique.
EA senior DL Jack Purcell commends his coaching staff in preparing his team for the games ahead.
EA senior RB DeeWil Barlee talks about his team's resilience.
Haverford School (2-2) has been enduring an elevator ride. The Fords won a close game by six points and another by 35, but they lost twice by 26 and 30. In other words, which Haverford team will appear each week?
Two quarterbacks, junior Dante Perri and senior Ben Gerber, have combined for 36 of 81 marksmanship for 505 yards and seven TDs (Gerber has added three via rushes), and three different players have caught more than 125 passing yards. The Fords’ secondary has intercepted six passes, two apiece by senior all-leaguer Nate Whitaker and senior Logan Keller. Senior Asim Richards is a returning all-league defensive lineman.
The Haverford School
Football Preview 2018
Senior linebacker Sean Clark is among a host of Fords who have shown improvement despite a mercurial beginning. They group held Northeast High School to six points in their opener.
Haverford head coach Mike Murphy talks about his team's preparedness and the importance of each game.
Haverford senior LB Sean Clark talks about coming out strong with a new season, and new goals.
Haverford senior DL Asim Richards says his team is prepared and ready to play
Inter- Ac League Schedule
10/12 Malvern Prep @ Penn Charter 3:45 p.m.
10/12 SCH Academy @ Episcopal Academy 7 p.m.
10/13 Haverford School @ Germantown Academy 1:30 p.m.
10/20 SCH Academy @ Germantown Academy 1:30 p.m.
10/20 Episcopal Academy @ Malvern Prep 1:30 p.m.
10/20 Haverford @ Penn Charter 2 p.m.
10/26 Penn Charter @ SCH Academy 3 p.m.
10/26 Germantown Academy @ Episcopal 7 p.m.
10/27 Malvern Prep @ Haverford School 1 p.m.
11/2 Penn Charter @ Episcopal 7 p.m.
11/3 Germantown Academy @ Malvern Prep 1 p.m.
11/3 SCH Academy @ Haverford School 2 p.m.
11/10 Malvern Prep @ SCH Academy 1 p.m.
11/10 Penn Charter @ Germantown Academy 1:30 p.m.
11/10 Episcopal Academy @ Haverford School 1:30 p.m.