This isn't exactly new territory for Archbishop Wood's football team.
It has been six years since Steve Devlin took over as head coach of the Vikings. That now makes six years since Wood has become a perennial powerhouse in the southeastern PA football circuit. And on Saturday night, the Vikings were crowned as Philadelphia Catholic League Class AAA champions for what was, you guessed it, the sixth year in a row.
Thanks to 109 yards and three touchdowns on the ground in just over one quarter of play from junior Jarrett McClenton, the Vikings were able to go up big early on and easily get past Bonner-Prendergast for the second time this season, winning 42-7 in the PCL Class AAA title game at Plymouth Whitemarsh High School.
The win puts the Vikings into next week's District 12 (City League) championship game, where they will be playing for their sixth consecutive district title.
"Every (title) is special and everyone has a different group of kids,' Devlin said. "Coming into this year, everyone was talking about how (Wood) had a lot of rebuilding to do and this and that, but these guys come to practice and work hard and we expected a lot out of them. They're just a great group of kids.'
As expected, it really wasn't much of a contest from the very start, as the Vikings (9-2) scored three touchdowns in each of the first two quarters.
After quarterback Tom Garlick found Jake Cooper for a 14-yard touchdown pass, it became the McClenton Show, as the running back rushed for three touchdowns from 11, 35 and nine yards out, respectively, in a span of just three minutes, 44 seconds to put Wood on top, 28-0.
Two defensive touchdowns by the Vikings — one a 70-yard fumble return by Kendall Singleton and the other being a 46-yard interception return by Cooper — and Wood led 42-0 going into halftime. On the fumble return, Wood's Christian Lohin sacked the Bonner quarterback and forced the fumble.
After two quarters of play, Bonner (3-8) had just 31 total yards to Wood's 177 yards and 42 points. With the running clock, the two teams played to a low-scoring second half.
"It's another PCL title and just a tremendous job by the team,' said Cooper, who doubled his season total in touchdowns on Saturday alone. "The coaches, the players, everybody came out here with a goal and we took care of business. If we keep getting better like we have been week by week and if we keep giving 150 percent and just be a tough team, I think we have a very good shot at state.'
Cooper's two touchdowns helped to lead a Wood offense which more than doubled Bonner's total yards on the night. McClenton's 109 yards and three touchdowns all came in the first quarter and the opening play of the second. Josh Messina also ran twice for the Vikings, racking up 34 yards.
"Jarrett has been awesome all year and he was the MVP of our league,' Devlin said. "He's a threat any time he touches the ball. And Jake (Cooper) has gotten better every game. That play he made on the interception was a highlight clip if anyone had one.'
Wood will now prepare to play in next week's District 12 (City League) title game, which will see the Vikings face Martin Luther King at Northeast High School at 1 p.m.
Bonner-Prendergast 0 0 7 0—7
Archbishop Wood 21 21 0 0—42
W — Cooper 14 pass from Garlick (McDonald kick)
W — McClenton 11 run (McDonald kick)
W — McClenton 35 run (McDonald kick)
W — McClenton 9 run (McDonald kick)
W — Singleton 70 fumble return (McDonald kick)
W — Cooper 46 INT return (McDonald kick)
B — DiGalbo 3 run (Robinson kick)
First downs 7 16
Rushing yards 72 213
Passing yards 44 43
Total yards 126 256
Passing 5-20-1 6-8-0
Fumbles-lost 1-1 0-0
Penalties-yards 7-57 4-45
Punts-avg. 3-29.67 3-22.67
Bonner-Prendergast: DiGalbo 6-(-1), TD; Dawson 2-46; King 4-(-1); DePhillipo 5-10; Sydnor 1-17; Wilson 3-3; Durkin 1-1; TEAM 1-(-3).
Archbishop Wood: McClenton 10-109, 3 TD; Messina 2-34; Singleton 1-10; Garlick 4-(-16); Schwartz 5-16; Costello 3-13; Dutkiewicz 8-29; Spahits 2-4; McCann 3-13.
Bonner-Prendergast: DiGalbo 5-20-1, 44.
Archbishop Wood: Garlick 6-8-0, 43, TD.
Bonner-Prendergast: Ockimey 2-20; Dawson 1-3; Higgins 1-6; McCastle 1-15.
Archbishop Wood: Cooper 2-24, TD; Singleton 1-6; Spahits 3-13.
Bonner-Prendergast: None. Archbishop Wood: Cooper.
Bonner-Prendergast: Shanahan 0.5, Marcus 0.5. Archbishop Wood: Lohin, Heck.