For the second straight season, Academy Park finds a juggernaut standing in the way of its quest to move closer to winning a state football crown.
The previously undefeated Knights bowed to eventual champion Imhotep Charter, 46-16, in a PIAA Class 3A quarterfinal last year.
This time, they are pitted against an Archbishop Wood squad that has outscored its three playoff foes by a combined 158-38 and is seeking its fourth state crown in six seasons.
"No matter the situation or opponent, our kids don't back down from a challenge," Academy Park coach Jason Vosheski said. "They play hard. They're physical, and they don't get intimidated."
The Knights (13-1) will try to pull off the improbable when they meet the Vikings (9-2-1) in a Class 5A semifinal at 7 p.m. Friday at Plymouth Whitemarsh.
Crucial for Academy Park is slowing a rushing attack that netted 510 yards and five touchdowns on 37 attempts in a 56-13 quarterfinal pounding of District 11's Whitehall on Friday.
The Vikings' Shawn Thompson racked up 280 yards on 13 attempts and Raheem "Speedy" Blackshear netted 137 yards on 15 tries. "It's probably the best one-two punch we've faced all year," Vosheski said.
Of Thompson, who has rushed 114 times for 1,163 yards and 13 touchdowns this season, Vosheski said, "He runs angry, and he can run through people."
Blackshear, who has committed to Temple, has carried 92 times for 836 yards and 14 touchdowns. A multipurpose threat, he also has 26 catches for 433 yards and five scores.
Archbishop Wood sophomore quarterback Jack Colyar has connected on 102 of 189 passes for 1,769 yards and 19 touchdowns.
In addition to Blackshear, Colyar's primary targets are Georgia-bound wideout Mark Webb and tight end Kyle Pitts.
"They have talent everywhere," said Vosheski, whose team's only blemish was a 29-24 loss to Del-Val League rival Interboro on Oct. 21.
In Dazhon Miller and Teddy Wright, the Knights likewise have a dangerous backfield combination.
Miller has carried 200 times for 1,605 yards and 21 touchdowns; Wright has rushed 152 times for 1,231 yards and 12 TDs. Multipurpose threat Kareem Burton is also in the mix.
Academy Park's run-heavy spread offense is led up front by center Jaion Smith and guards Chris Thomas and Dan Kemp.
The Knights' 4-4 defense is spearheaded by middle guard Corey Simmons, tackle Amara Kenneth, and ends Togba Porte and Kasai Crawford.