Archbishop Wood wins PIAA Class 5A title with 37-10 win over Harrisburg
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The old saying “first impressions mean a lot” isn’t always true to the word. When Harrisburg quarterback Yahmir Wilkerson hit Shaquon Anderson-Butts for a 71 yard td pass on the 2nd play of the game, it looked as though the Harrisburg Cougars we going to control the airways and the game. But the play turned out to be one of the few highlights for the “home team” from just down the road. Archbishop Wood running back Raheem Blackshear and his backfield mate Shawn Thompson combined for 384 rushing yards and 4 tds and the Vikings tallied 421 total yards on offense to capture their fourth State Championship since 2011. The previous three were 3A titles, this one being the first ever PIAA Class 5A Title.
“It was a broken assignment and one of our guys fell down and they jumped on us. We had a great response, we drove down the field and we did what we had to do” said Viking Head Coach Steve Devlin. Wood went on a 10 play, 67 yard drive to tie the game at 7 on a Jack Colyar to Kyle Pitts 10 yard td pass. Blackshear had 4 runs for 21 yards and Thompson had 3 runs for 32 yards in the drive. It was a sign of what was to come. “They’re a great tandem together. I’m so proud of what he did this year and Raheem, he’s a beast, hes strong, hes fast, just a great athlete and I’m so proud of him” said Devlin.
On Harrisburg’s next drive, a bad snap on a fourth down punt attempt gave the Vikings the ball at the Harrisburg 20. Blackshear carried the ball 3 times, the last a 2 yard td run to make it 14-7 with 3:48 left in the first quarter. “Special teams was a killer. We had that bad snap the resulted in a td, another that led to another td, you can’t do that against a team like that” said Harrisburg Head Coach Calvin Everett.
Wood kicker Dan Zanine made it a 17-7 lead with a 26 yard field goal at the 8:38 mark of the second quarter, and after the two teams exchanged possessions a few times, Harrisburg kicker Joel Davis nailed a 23 yard kick to bring the Cougars back to a td down, 17-10, with 37 seconds left in the half. One the very next play after the kick, Zion Patterson stepped in front of a Colyar pass and the Cougars had the ball at their 49. Wilkerson found Donnell Henriquez for a 36 yard gain to the Wood 15, and qb then ran for 13 yards to put the ball at the 2 yard line with just a few seconds remaining. After an incomplete pass, Devlin put PSU committ Micah Parson in for a direct snap, but he fumbled the snap and was taken down 4 yards back. That was as close as the Cougars got. “We were thinking about we had numbers in the middle the way they were playin us, we tried to get him up the middle and we fumbled the snap” said Everett.
Blackshear had 150 yards on 19 carries in the first half. “When i broke open field, tonight I could just see it. I give our line credit every day, I appreciate everything they do for me” said the speedy senior.
It took a few series in the second half to get going again, but eventually Blackshear found his rhythm. He scored 2o more times, adding to his run total giving him 249 yards on 35 carries and 3 tds for the night. Thompson scored the last td of the night, a 35 yard run giving him 135 yards and a td. “I’m not selfish, I was always told to share and that’s what we did, we shared the load” said Blackshear of Thompson. “They call us the 1-2 punch.”
— EasternPAFootball (@EPAFootball) December 10, 2016
Parsons summed up his and the Cougars effort. “We just get ready for next year. I’m gonna work my butt off next year. I thought I performed well, but they executed. We missed tackles, sometimes it just don’t work out.”
Photo and Video credit by Lee Vivian & Bruce Badgley
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