PHILADELPHIA — Greg Bernhardt knew that his Bonner-Prendergast team was a major underdog coming into Friday night's game against Public League power Imhotep Charter.
But Bernhardt wasn't so much disappointed with the 45-13 loss that the Panthers hung on the Friars. Imhotep (6-1) ranks among the best teams in the state, regardless of qualification, and already held a convincing 40-28 win over Catholic League Class AAAA juggernaut La Salle to boot.
Rather, the second-year Friars boss felt that his team could have made that game just a little bit more competitive than it appeared.
"I don't think the kids came out scared by any means,' said Bernhardt, whose Friars fell to 2-5. "I do think we kind of had that deer in the headlights (look) when we came out and I thought we could have played better off the bat, but it is what it is. ... (The Panthers) are just unreal. They've got 10 guys that can take it to the house every time they touch the ball.'
Pretty close to it. The Panthers had six touchdowns go for 32 yards or more with three of them going for at least 60 yards. Division I prospect DeAndre Scott recovered a fumble and returned it 32 yards for a score on the Friars' second drive and later added a scintillating 65-yard scamper on 3rd-and-37. Tyliek Raynor put together a superb 60-yard scoring run highlighted by him juking a Bonner safety out of his shoes before hitting paydirt, and DJ Moore got wide open on a wheel route before snaring a pass
"They're no doubt a good team,' lineman John Durkin said. "... (The) offensive line played well from my perspective, but the scoreboard did not show that. (Quarterback) Collin (DiGalbo) had a hell of a game, but the wideouts have to make plays for him. He can't do it by himself. Having competition like that, a great team, I think will make us a better team, too.'
DiGalbo's final stat line of 10-for-29 for 108 yards, two interceptions and a 32-yard touchdown to Mike Ockimey wasn't indicative of his performance. He led the Friars in rushing with 66 yards on 15 carries, taking over the load after starting tailback Joe DePhillipo went down with an ankle injury, and was victimized by what closed in on double-digit drops.
"(The loss) will help us get better and focused,' DiGalbo said. "Focus on what we couldn't do (Friday), go out and work on it all week and show up for O'Hara. ...(The Panthers) are fast, don't get me wrong, but we should have done a lot better than we did. We should have put more points on the board.'
Oh yeah, there's that minor rivalry game a week from today. It's the red-letter game on the Friars' schedule every year and it's followed by a meeting with AAA Catholic League bully Archbishop Wood. A win over the Lions would put Bonner at 2-0 in PCL AAA play, but it would mean much more than your average win.
"Throw this one away,' Durkin said. "Focus on O'Hara, our rival. As a senior, it means the world to me. I've been waiting for this day since my freshman year. They're a good team. I have a bunch of friends on the team, but I think without a doubt we can beat them if we play our best.'
The Friars have seen the best, too, so at least they can draw on what it looks like.