By EJ Holt, Sports Editor
Imhotep Charter Panthers are currently four games into their football season. Their current record is 2-2 which is good enough for first in their conference. They have two losses away and two wins at neutral sites. I can say for sure that at least one of those neutral site games absolutely did not have a neutral crowd, more on that later.
Often during the long grind of a season, a team evolves. They start out as one thing and by seasons end they are a different entity. A singular number record and a ranking at the end of the season doesn’t quite do justice to the ups and downs of a season in competition. In sports the journey and the result are two different things. I plan on giving you both throughout the season. We can all see the numbers, but I want to highlight the how as well. How did the team get to their current record? How did they win? How did they lose? So let’s catch up with these Imhotep Panthers and see how their first four games went.
Game 1 August 27th 2022
Imhotep Charter Panthers vs Bishop Mcdevitt Crusaders
The Panthers managed to pull off a win to start their season with a score of 19 -14. The highlights started with a 14 yard pass from Quarterback Mikal Davis to Running Back Jabree Wallace-Coleman. the pass was a screen play where the Panthers lined up with 3 receivers to the far side of the field and 1 receiver to the short side. The screen is run to the short side where there are less defenders. The running back Jabree Wallace-Coleman leaked out of the backfield and caught the ball with 3 blockers in front of him versus 1 defender for Bishop McDevitt. A well designed play.
Next on 2nd and 7, QB Mikal Davis hits Rahmir Stewart for a 13 yard gain. The drive is capped off later in the first quarter on 2nd and 12 with a touchdown pass from Mikal Davis to Tight End Johann Hennigan. On that play the Panthers line up in 12 personnel which is 2 Tight ends, 2 Wide Receivers and 1 Running Back. This is typically a run formation, but the Panthers fake the run and Hennigan slips out of the backfield for the catch and run into the End Zone.
On the Panthers second drive QB Mikal Davis showed off his mobility with a 17 yard scramble. Then in the second quarter on 1st and 10, Running Back Jabree Wallace-Coleman exploded for an 82 yard run. The Panthers confused the Bishop McDevitt defenders with motion in the backfield at the snap, then Wallace-Coleman did the rest breaking a handful of tackles on his way for the score.
Imhotep went into the fouth quarter clinging to a 13-6 lead when QB Mikal Davis finds TE Johann Hennigan for an 18 yard gain on 3rd and 9. Later in the 4th,with the Panthers holding a 19-12 lead Davis finds Hennigan again for an 11 yard gain to keep the offense moving and seal the game. RB Jabree Wallace-Coleman finished with a team high 21 carries for 127 yards.
Game 2 September 9th 2022
Imhotep Charter Panthers vs Archbishop Spalding Cavaliers
The Panthers were shut out in the first half and came into the third quarter down 7-0. Imhotep finally got on the board in the 3rd quarter with a monstrous 80 yard touchdown pass from QB Mikal Davis to Wide Receiver Corey Wright-Downing. Wright-Downing had already burned the Cavaliers defense with a 40 yard pass in the first quarter, so this was a matchup the Panthers coaching staff identified as an area to attack again.On the 80 yarder, Corey Wright-Downing was defended with a single defensive back with no safety help. Wright-Downing was simply the faster player, he ran a go route which calls for the receiver to streak down the field as fast as possible.
The defensive back had no chance of keeping up. In the 4th quarter with the Imhotep Panthers down 13-7, QB Mikal Davis hits WR Asir Moore for a 59 yard strike for a touchdown to tie the game. Then again in the 4th with the game tied, on 3rd and 10, Davis finds RB Jabree Wallace-Coleman on a wheel route for 49 yards. The Panthers fail to score and The Archbishop Spalding Cavaliers get the late touchdown to secure their victory. QB Mikal Davis had 330 yards passing with 2 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. Both receivers Asir Moore and Corey Wright-Downing each had 6 receptions for 137 yards and 112 yards respectively.
Game 3 September 16th 2022
Imhotep Charter Panthers vs Malvern Prep Friars
Wide receiver Corey Wright-Downing was back at it with a pair of 20 yard catches in the first quarter.The Panthers jumped out to a 6-3 lead early in the game.Later in the game with Imhotep up by the score of 12-3, Safety Rahmir Stewart secures an interception on a 2nd and 11 pass. On the interception Stewart was the single high safety in 3 deep coverage, meaning Stewart and the 2 other cornerbacks are responsible for any passes deep downfield. The outside cornerback bites on the double move from the wide receiver which allows the receiver to get downfield. The QB thinks he has an easy deep pass but Stewart shows his speed and range by getting over top of the WR and making a play on the ball. Rahmir Stewart showed his versatility all game by playing on the offensive side of the ball to the tune of 16 carries for 82 yards and a touchdown to go along with his interception on defense. In the end Malvern Prep rallied back to steal the win 17-13.
Game 4 September 24th 2022
Imhotep Charter Panthers vs Frankford Pioneers
” Those last 2 losses are strictly on me!! We will be better!!!” That was the tweet from Panthers Head Coach Devon Johnson on September 19th. For a team whose motto is “Best is the Standard”, 2 losses in a row does not sit well. But Coach Johnson definitely made good on his promise of a better showing and I was glad to be in the bleachers to see it. The Panthers started out hot with a 2 play drive for a touchdown that got the crowd excited.
Speaking of the crowd, I mentioned earlier that some of these games were played at neutral sites. When I saw the gang of people on the Panthers side of the field compared to the few individuals I can count on one hand on the Frankford side, I quickly realized this site was not at all neutral. The crowd voiced their approval for their team not by the usual round of applause. No, the Panthers fans stomped their feet to make a thunderous boom that reverberated all the way across the field. The fan support was almost as overwhelming as the Panthers defense. There was a heightened aggression in the play with blitzes off the edge, going for two after scores and two blocked punts returned for touchdowns. Long story short, this game wasn’t pretty. The Imhotep Panthers destroyed an overmatched Frankford Pioneers team and evened up their record at 2-2.
See ya next game.