Vikings sacked by Erie Cathedral in state title tilt
For BucksLocalSports Behind a freshman quarterback and one of the best running offenses in the state, Archbishop Wood found itself right back in the state title game last Friday night, looking to defend the crown it earned last year after a 52-0 destruction of Bishop McDevitt.
But going against a team that not only had its way with McDevitt one week earlier in a state semifinal matchup, but which also possesses a quarterbackrunning back tandem that will be seen at Michigan State next year, the Vikings ran into a bit if trouble.
After not losing a single game to a Class AAA team since the 2010 state semifinals, Wood faced its tough- est challenge of the season in Erie Cathedral Prep. And despite a touchdown on their opening drive, the Vikings fell completely flat.
Behind the Michigan State-bound quarterback, Damion Terry, Cathedral Prep ripped off 24 consecutive points in the first half and cruised to a 24-14 win over Wood in the PIAA Class AAA championship Dec. 14 at HersheyPark Stadium.
After reeling off eight consecutive wins en route to their third state title birth in five years, the Vikings finally found themselves on the wrong side of the scoreboard after what was a season which many didn’t believe to be possible for Wood.
of these guys,” said Wood coach Steve Devlin, whose team lost six Division 1 players to graduation from last year’s team. “We came out in the second half, but
we just couldn’t get enough points to get it done. That’s a very good football team over there with Prep and they made some plays and executed, but hats off to my guys. We never gave up and we battled.”
The sikings, who had outscored their opponents 358-151 during their recent eight-game winning streak, looked good early on, capping off a seven-play, 80yard drive with a 32-yard touchdown run by junior halfback gosh Messina just over three minutes into the fiUVW TuDUWHU.
But the undefeated Ramblers not only had an answer of their own on offense, but completely dominated the sikings on both sides of the ball for the remainder of the half.
Cathedral Prep tied the game on a 59-yard touchdown pass from Terry to Troy Woodard midway WKURuJK WKH fiUVW TuDUWHU. And after stopping the sikings’ offense a few times, the Ramblers scored three more times before the end of the half, including a touchdown run by Terry and another passing score by the senior late in the second TuDUWHU.
“Our coaches do such an amazing job with our defensive backs, but in my 30 years, I don’t think I ever had a touchdown thrown on me where we didn’t have a guy covering the guy,” Wood defensive coordinator Mike Carey said. “That KDSSHQHG WwLFH LQ WKH fiUVW half and it was just mindboggling.”
In the second half, Wood wDV fiQDOOy DEOH WR GR wKDW it has been known for doing all season long – break off the big run.
LDWH LQ WKH WKLUG TuDUWHU, Wood senior tailback Andrew Guckin ripped off a 28-yard run and followed LW wLWK D fivH-yDUG VFRUH WR record his 30th touchdown of the year, bringing the sikings to within 10 points of Cathedral Prep.
But that would be all the offense the sikings would be able to muster, as the Michigan State-bound Delton Williams and the Cathedral Prep defense kept Wood in check until the end.
After converting a number of fourth down converVLRQV, :RRG IUHVKPDQ TuDUterback Tom Garlick was intercepted in the end zone with 4:13 showing on the clock to end any hopes at a comeback for the defending state champions.
“It was frustrating,” said Guckin, the Philadelphia Catholic League’s most Read the rest of this
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Wood’s Josh Messina breaks away from Cathedral Prep’s Marion Tyree in the Vikings’ 24-14 loss to the Ramblers in the PIAA-AAA championship Dec. 14 at Hersheypark Stadium.