Penn Charter Football - PSD File Photo
Episcopal Academy Football - PSD File Photo
Who: Penn Charter vs. Episcopal Academy
When: 7 PM Friday, November 2
Where: Episcopal Academy High School
Records: Penn Charter 6-2, 2-1; Episcopal Academy 6-2, 2-1
Most Recent Performance: Penn Charter defeated host Springside Chestnut Hill Academy, 35-13; Episcopal upended visiting Germantown Academy, 29-7.
Importance: One of these teams will remain mathematically alive to tie Malvern Prep for an Inter-Academic League title; the other will be eliminated. It’s a long shot that Malvern will lose over the final two weeks, but it’s possible.
All-Time Record: Penn Charter has won twice as many at 84-42-2.
Penn Charter Notes: Senior running back/defensive back Eddie Saydee is playing at an extremely high level. He has already rushed for 1,060 yards and scored a total of 18 touchdowns on 13 rushes, one reception, two kickoff returns, one interception return, and one punt return . . . Junior quarterback Kyle Jones has rushed for eight TDs and his combined numbers throwing in wins over Haverford School and Springside Chestnut Hill Academy include 16 completions in 25 attempts for 274 yards and six touchdowns . . . Senior Brendan Thomas has caught four TDs in the past three games . . . The Quakers’ defense relies much on senior end Ryan Maloney, sophomore outside linebacker Andre O’Neal, sophomore free safety Matt Marshall, and Saydee (two of team’s six interceptions) at strong safety.
Episcopal Academy Notes: Senior RB DeeWil Barlee has rushed for 803 yards and nine touchdowns and needs 197 yards to reach quadruple figures . . . Junior quarterback Marcus McDaniel can hurt teams with his arm (935 yards and seven touchdowns) and legs (three TDs and 518 yards, including 117 versus Germantown Academy and 123 against Hill School) . . . Main REC targets are senior Jack Bush and sophomore Malcolm Folk, both with three scores . . . On defense, stalwarts include senior Jack Purcell on the line, Bush at linebacker, Folk at cornerback, and Barlee (two interceptions last week) at strong safety.
QUAKER CHAT: “What has worked best for us is all coming together as a team,” said sophomore free safety Matt Marshall. “Also, playing at a fast tempo. We have an offense that can move the ball and a defense that can make big-time plays. To be successful for this week’s game, we have to fly to the ball at all times. Also, we have to be disciplined on both sides the ball . . . and get the win, because that’s all we preach.”
“So far this year we have been really successful in passing the ball and creating turnovers on defense,” said two-way senior end Ryan Maloney. “For the game on Friday, we are gonna have to force them to turn the ball over and make sure we take care of the ball, too, and we should be fine.”
CHURCHMEN CHAT: “One of the best things that has worked for our team this year is our running game,” said junior guard Paul McLaughlin. “For our team to win against Penn Charter, we need to dominate up front and limit turnovers. On defense, we need to limit Penn Charter’s run game, specifically Ed Saydee. If we play our game and execute, we will ultimately be successful.”
“We play our best football when we win the battle up front and when we’re able to get it to DeeWill or our receivers in space who have the ability to make defenders miss and break out big plays,” said senior wide receiver Brian Virbitsky.“This week we will have to limit turnovers and slow down their running game. If we execute well and limit penalties and turnovers, we’ll be in good position.”
Prediction: These teams are so evenly matched that they would probably each win five times if they played 10 times. In those situations, it’s usually prudent to go with the home team. So, since the Churchmen are playing on familiar turf, plus taking into account their strong performances in a 13-7 win over Delaware toughie Salesianum School and a respectable 24-7 loss at Malvern Prep, Episcopal looks like a 24-18 winner.
(John Knebels can be reached at Jknebels@gmail.com or on Twitter @johnknebels.)