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First-year Imani Christian to rely on skill players' speed

| Thursday, Aug. 23, 2012, 7:10 p.m.
Imani Christian Academy's Brendan Edwards runs the ball during offense practice on Thursday August 16, 2012. Sidney Davis | Tribune-Review

Imani Christian has WPIAL membership, a full schedule in the Black Hills Conference and a group of talented skill players that won four seven-on-seven competitions this summer.

What the Saints don't have is much of a history.

“That's why I can't get too excited or put too high of expectations on us,” said Imani coach Harvey Smith, whose team played an exhibition schedule last fall. “We played against teams that weren't in the WPIAL. Now, we're in the SEC of Class A football. It will be a tough introduction for us, I'm sure.”

Imani is led by one of the best cover corners around in 5-foot-8 senior Brendan Edwards, has a strong-armed quarterback in Khari Hicks and speed at running back with Sean Williams and receiver with Edwards, Eric Scott and Michael Wright.

The development of 6-7, 300-pound sophomore tackle Brannon Murphy and 6-4, 225-pound freshman linebacker Keith Wells will be key to the line play.

“I think we'll be extremely competitive,” said Smith, whose team is on WPIAL probation and ineligible for the playoffs the next two seasons. “Our issue is not being familiar, is not being on field and playing against WPIAL teams. We have some big kids up front but they're all freshmen and sophomores. But we can throw the ball around with the best of them.”

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