Chase for Inter-Ac League football crown begins Saturday

Penn Charter’s Edward Saydee has rushed for 636 yards and seven touchdowns in five games.

Malvern Prep has captured or shared six of the last 10 Inter-Ac League football championships and Haverford School has won or shared five of the last eight titles.

With Inter-Ac play beginning Saturday afternoon, the Friars and Fords each have a disappointing 1-4 record. That could mean it’s a wide-open race, with all six teams in the hunt, for top league honors this season.

Malvern looks to end a four-game losing skid and gain its first triumph since Sept. 1 when it visits undefeated Penn Charter (5-0).

The Friars’ four defeats have come against formidable foes: La Salle (45-21), New Jersey’s Pope John Paul XXIII (28-10) and Peddie School (43-36), and Maryland’s McDonogh School (27-9).

For Malvern to get back on the winning track, its defense needs to slow Penn Charter halfback Edward Saydee. The shifty junior has carried 91 times for 636 yards and seven touchdowns.

Haverford School plays host to Germantown Academy, which last season shared the league championship with Malvern.

The Fords have dropped three straight since beating West Catholic on Sept. 8. They have struggled mightily on defense, allowing an average of 35.4 points per game.

Against GA (3-2), Haverford linemen Asim Richards and Colin Hurlbrink and linebacker Ed King need to stop Trae Vance (58 carries for 322 yards and five TDs) at the point of attack.

Saturday’s other Inter-Ac contest pits Episcopal Academy (3-2) against host Springside Chestnut Hill Academy (4-2).

EA has one of the area’s top rushers in DeeWil Barlee. The 5-8, 175-pound junior has rushed 91 times for 673 yards and 11 scores.

After a 3-0 start, EA dropped back-to-back-games vs. Blair Academy (13-10) and Salesianum (28-20). Last Saturday, SCH had a four-game win streak snapped in a 25-24 overtime loss to Northeast.

SCH’s Aaron Angelos has connected on 47 of 77 throws for 701 yards and seven TDs. His top target is Ke’Shawn Williams, who has 14 catches for 244 yards and two scores.

Pick Six

Friday

No. 9 Springfield-Delco (7-0) at Marple Newtown (4-3), 7. Ja’Den McKenzie (88 carries for 788 yards, 12 TDs) keeps the red-hot Cougars unbeaten. Pick: Springfield, 36-23.

No. 12 Unionville (7-0) at No. 4 Downingtown East (7-0), 7. East can’t get caught looking ahead to next week’s Ches-Mont National showdown vs. Coatesville. Pick: East, 35-14.

No. 23 Central Bucks West (5-2) at No. 17 Central Bucks South (5-2), 7. C.B. West’s Jake Reichwein and C.B. South’s Matt Norris are rock-solid linebackers. Pick: C.B. South, 26-20.

Saturday

Malvern Prep at No. 22 Penn Charter, 1:30. Can quarterback Will Samuel and the Quakers reverse last year’s 35-28 loss to the Friars? Pick: Malvern, 38-23.

Germantown Academy at Haverford School, 2. Go-to rusher Jordan Berry and the rested Fords eke out a victory at Sabol Field. Pick: Haverford, 20-16.

Episcopal Academy at Springside Chestnut Hill, 2:30. With their vaunted ground attack, the Churchmen prove too much for the Blue Devils. Pick: EA, 30-14.