In states return, Academy Park unfazed by Roman Catholic challenge

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By Matthew De George

Academy Park’s DeAndray Covert, left, is ready to assume the challenge of the PIAA Tournament when the Knights tangle with Roman Catholic Saturday. (Digital First Media/Robert J. Gurecki)

It’s been 17 years since Academy Park last qualified for the PIAA Tournament, long enough that a significant portion of its roster wasn’t yet born.

But anyone expecting jitters from the Knights when they take on District 12 champion Roman Catholic in Saturday’s states opener (5:30 p.m., St. Joseph’s Prep) will be sorely disappointed.

The ninth seed from District One faces a daunting challenge against the reigning Class AAAA champs, fresh off a Catholic League title. But what else is new for Academy Park (20-7)?

Consider their road through districts: A two-point first-round victory at Upper Merion; a four-point loss to No. 2 seed and eventual champ Plymouth Whitemarsh; a win at No. 10 Phoenixville in playbacks; a win at No. 3 Downingtown West, a team many had tabbed as a title contender, to get to states; a two-point win over Hatboro-Horsham in a seeding game that propagates the wave of momentum through three straight wins.

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