A CLOSER LOOK: NO. 13 PENNRIDGE AT NO. 14 ACADEMY PARK
Two of the area's most explosive ballcarriers will showcase their talents Friday night in Sharon Hill.
In an intriguing nonleague matchup of unbeatens, Mike Class and Pennridge, ranked No. 13 in Southeastern Pennsylvania by The Inquirer, visit Jerry Lanier and No. 14 Academy Park at 7 p.m.
Class, a 5-foot-10, 180-pound senior, is the Rams' all-time leading rusher. For his career, he has carried 567 times for 4,230 yards and 53 touchdowns.
For the Knights, the 5-9, 180-pound Lanier, also a senior, comes in averaging 204 rushing yards and two scores per game. He has a per-carry average of nearly 12 yards.
In three games this season, Class has rushed 35 times for 290 yards (an average of 8.3 yards per carry) and six TDs. He also has 12 receptions for 180 yards and two scores.
In a 33-27 triumph over District 11's Emmaus in Week 1, Class, with 100 yards and two TDs on 19 carries, eclipsed the old all-time school rushing mark of 4,046, set in 2004 by Ryan Greiser.
While sparking Academy Park's 3-0 start, Lanier has carried 52 times for 611 yards and six scores.
In the Knights' opener, a 38-7 romp over Marple Newtown, Lanier totaled 213 yards on only 11 carries. The next week, in a 43-31 win against Cardinal O'Hara, he finished with 224 yards (just 1 short of his career high) on 24 totes.
Last year, with Class rushing for 213 yards on 21 attempts and Lanier managing 89 yards on 10 tries, host Pennridge eased to a 37-15 win.
The 3-0 Rams also have threats on offense in quarterback Matt Pasquale (31-for-43 passing, 495 yards, six TDs), running backs DeVon Balmer and Imeir Simmons, and receiver Micah Stutzman.
The Knights' shotgun/spread attack is also fueled by QB Brian Ingram (22 carries for 158 yards and six scores) and receiver Jeff Devaughn.
Pennridge's 3-4 defense is headed by tackle Shayne Kraynik, linebackers Simmons, Zack Hockman and Austin Knepp, and backs Stutzman and Balmer.
The top playmakers for Academy Park's 4-4-3 defense are end Khyree Thomas, inside linebacker Jamar Dembry, outside linebakcer Osman Toure, outside linebacker/strong safety Marlin Jackson, and cornerback Devaughn.
Pick: Look for the hosts, with a late TD burst from Lanier, to win a close one. Academy Park, 23-21.