Archbishop Wood entered Saturday's championship game looking to clinch its sixth consecutive District 12 title. Standing in the Vikings' way was a talented Martin Luther King team that boasted several Division One prospects.
Wood came out of the gates firing as it took a 14-0 lead in less than three minutes of play totaling just six plays. The Vikings eventually built a 52-0 lead by halftime as they won the game 52-8.
"We were worried coming into the game,' Wood coach Steve Devlin said. "They've got a quarterback who's ran and thrown for over 2,000 yards, a great receiver, both of them got multiple Division One scholarship offers. They got a kid going to [University of] Florida on the offensive line/defensive line, so we knew we had to play a good game.'
The Vikings offense was a model of consistency in the first half as it got the ball on nine possessions and scored on eight, with touchdowns on seven of them.
"A lot of practice, we worked on everything we did in the game,' Wood quarterback Tom Garlick said. "We were getting the looks that we thought we were going to get, so a lot of the passing plays were open and coach called a great game.'
The sophomore signal-caller had an efficient day at the helm going 5 for 9 for only 63 yards, but three touchdowns with Jake Cooper on the receiving end of two.
While Garlick was dealing, the Wood defense harassed the speedy and strong armed Joseph Walker. Walker attempted nine passes in the first half and did not complete a single one. A big reason for Walker's struggles was the Vikings pass rush. Walker was under heat the whole game and was sacked four times, three times by defensive end Chris Gary.
"We knew we had to get after the passer and Chris had a tremendous game and we challenged him this week about really making some plays and he did,' Devlin said.
With the Vikings starters relegated to the bench for the second half, the sixth consecutive District 12 win served as nice warmup as they now turn their attention to the PIAA Class AAA playoffs.
"It gives teams a different look,' Garlick said of the offense heading into states. "Now we're throwing the ball a little bit more and we've got a good run game with Jarrett [McClenton] and Luke Spahits and it gives teams different looks going into states.'
Martin Luther King 0 0 0 8-8
Archbishop Wood 17 35 0 0-52
ScoringAW- McClenton 40 run (McDonald kick)
AW- Messina 29 run (McDonald kick)
AW- McDonald 18 field goal
AW- Cooper 5 pass from Garlick (McDonald kick)
AW- Cooper 15 pass from Garlick (McDonald kick)
AW- Rubin 28 pass from Garlick (McDonald kick)
AW- Dutkiewicz 3 run (McDonald kick)
ML- Walker 18 run (Walker pass to Delane Hart)
First downs 6 16
Yards rushing 36 204
Yards passing 63 69
Total offense 99 273
Passing 3-17-1 6-10-0
Fumbles-Lost 0-0 1-0
Penalties 1-5 4-30
Punts-avg. 6-22.7 1-50
Martin Luther King: Dargan 4-13; Watkins 3-0; Walker 11-23, TD
Archbishop Wood: McClenton 7-74, TD; Spahits 3-15; Dutkiewicz 9-48, 2TD; McCann 6-35; Messina 1-29, TD; Chaat 2-2; Costello 4-15; Garlick 3-15
Martin Luther King: Walker 3-17-1, 63 yards; Henderson 0-1-0
Archbishop Wood: Garlick 5-9-0, 63 yards, 3 TD; Russo 1-1-0, 6 yards
Martin Luther King: Hart 2- 54; Ford 1-9
Archbishop Wood: Cooper 2-20, 2TD; Singleton 1-6; McClenton 1-9; Rubin 1-29, TD; Hall 1-6