Archbishop Wood Wins PIAA Class AAA TitleWritten by: Billy Splain on Saturday, December 14th, 2013
There’s an old saying that goes “sometimes your best defense is a good offense”. Leading by a score of 7-3 with 4:11 remaining in the third quarter, the Viking’s of Archbishop Wood were pinned at their own 3 yard line following a 47 yard punt by Bishop McDevitt’s Bobby Zwigart. The Vikings of Archbishop Wood decided they’d give that saying a new meaning. Jarred McClenton took the first hand off of the drive and got exactly one yard on the carry. Try again. Luke Spahits took the next two hand offs and got 12 total yards and a first down. Then another short gain. And another…and another… Twenty one plays, 12 minutes, 6 seconds and 97 yards later the Vikings had a 14-3 lead on a 1 yard run from Tom Garlick and were on their way to the schools second PIAA AAA state title defeating Bishop McDevitt 22-10 at Hersheypark Stadium.
Bishop McDevitt started the game just as they have all year, driving immediately down field using all-everything back Andre Robinson. The Jr. running back led his Crusaders all the way to the end zone on a 12 yard td run. The only problem was the last play of the first drive was negated on a holding penalty. “That drive right there, we felt like if we got the touchdown we would have had the momentum but it didn’t happen that way, we weren’t the same offense after that” said Crusader coach Jeff Weachter. Instead of a 7 point lead, Bishop McDevitt settled for a 3-0 lead on a 33 yard field goal.
Those would be the only points scored in the half as what was expected by most to be an offensive explosion turned out to be a defensive battle. Looking at the first half statistics you would never believe that one running back would end the game with 238 rushing yards. That running back, Jarred McClenton, ran for 80 of Woods 86 yard total in the first two quarters of the game. “Coach kept telling me get outside but I just kept trying to hit the gaps. I couldn’t get it going” said the running back who would eventually lead his team to victory.
The Vikings started the second half at their 28. On the very first play McClenton did exactly what his coaches told him he should be doing, he took the ball and sprinted for the left edge. Twenty two yard later he was forced out of bounds. McClenton carried the ball 6 more times in the 11 play drive, the last a 4 yard td run. The drive was also highlighted by a masterful play action fake by qb Tom Garlick that got the Vikings to the 4. With the extra point, Wood had their first lead of the night, 7-3.
“We knew we had to keep the ball away from them or we didn’t have a shot. That’s how they beat you, they just hammer you and control the ball then they shut you down with that stingy defense” said Weachter. “We didn’t do that, and they did what they do”. What they did was shut down an offense that averaged 44 points per game this year. The defense was led by Chris Gary who had 5 tackles and 2 key sacks. “Man, after they went right down the field we got angry. We said we aint gonna let them do that the rest of the night” said the senior defensive end.
Trailing 14-3 with just 4:01 remaining, the Crusader’s offense was completely snuffed out for good as the Wood defense kept pressure on McDevitt qb Nick Marsillio’s last gasp attempt to get his team down field. 4 straight pass incompletion’s sealed the Crusader’s fate. The Viking’s then stamped their exclamation point with a 15 yard McClenton touchdown run and two point conversion.
Andre Robinson closed out the scoring on the ensuing kick with a 75 yard td run but it was just too late in the game to give his team a fighting chance.
“We knew we had to get a couple first downs, we had to adjust. They’re a great team there. They took some of the stuff we were doing there and they stopped us. We just had to make plays” said Viking head coach Steve Devlin. “That was certainly the best 12 minute drive I’ve ever been a part of” he said of the game defining drive.
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