WYOMISSING 35, IMHOTEP CHARTER 13
A potent wing-T offense, a quick-to-the ball defense, and a Notre Dame-bound standout spelled an end to Imhotep Charter's drive toward Hershey.
With Alex Anzalone leading the way, Wyomissing totaled 275 yards on the ground, held the previously explosive Panthers to two scores, and coasted, 35-13, Saturday in a PIAA Class AA state semifinal at Benjamin L. Johnston Stadium.
"When you're building a program, you have to go through some ups and downs," Imhotep rookie coach Albie Crosby said. "Fortunately for us, we were able to win 14 games before hitting a bump in the road."
As a fullback, the 6-foot-3, 235-pound Anzalone, who leaves for Notre Dame in January, carried 18 times for 148 yards. At linebacker, his projected position in college, he helped the 15-0 Spartans limit the Panthers to 128 yards rushing.
"He's a load going up the middle," said Crosby, whose squad won its first 14 games by a combined score of 638-73. "Defensively, he's all over the place."
Wyomissing, of District 3, earned a berth in next Saturday's final at HersheyPark Stadium. The District 3 champs will take on District 7 titlist and fellow unbeaten Aliquippa (15-0) for top honors.
"I'm so proud," Anzalone said. "I'm at a loss for words. It's pretty surreal. It's been our goal all year to make it to Hershey."
The first of Wyomissing's three second-quarter touchdowns, an 11-yard dash by Brandon Gonzalez, was set up by Anzalone's 58-yard rumble.
After Imhotep tailback David Williams escaped for a 50-yard TD, the Spartans quickly responded. Rolling right, quarterback Corey Unger found Gerald Burns, who had slipped past the last line of defense, for a 46-yard TD.
"I was surprised that we didn't make a play on that ball," Crosby said. "But that's football. You have to take the good with the bad."
The strong-armed Unger was ineligible for most of this season after transferring in from Fleetwood. Prior to last week's quarterfinal romp over Danville, he was only permitted to practice with the team.
Just before the break, Unger's 50-yard bomb to Joe Cacchione set up Anzalone's 3-yard dive that put Imhotep in a 21-7 hole.
Early in the third frame, following a 26-yard gain by Williams, Deandre Scott gave the Panthers (14-1) momentary hope with a 50-yard TD burst. "They have a bunch of good athletes," Anzalone said. "It took us a while to get acclimated to their speed."
Late in the third, after a pinning Imhotep at its 7 with a punt, Wyomissing forced a three-and-out, and regained possession 45 yards from paydirt. Six play later, Justin Causa's 16-yard run around left end was the dagger.
Williams, a Division I-A recruit, carried 22 times for 141 yards. He closed his career with more than 4,700 yards rushing and 58 TDs.
Wyomissing 0 21 7 7-35
Imhotep Charter 0 7 6 0-13
W: Brandon Gonzalez 11 run (kick failed)
IC: David Williams 50 run (Denniston Moore kick)
W: Gerald Burns 46 pass from Corey Unger (Scotty McAvoy pass from Unger)
W: Alex Anzalone 3 run (Jonah Bowman kick)
IC: Deandre Scott 44 run (kick blocked)
W: Justin Causa 16 run (Bowman kick)
W: McAvoy 11 run (Bowman kick)