Vik­ings sacked by Erie Cathe­dral in state ti­tle tilt

The Advance of Bucks County - - WORD ON THE STREET - By Mike Prince

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.

“I’m proud

as heck

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

story on­line at: Buck­sLo­calS­

Photo by Bob Raines

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.

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