That Championship Season?
That is the question for eight remaining teams that will invade Chocolate Town this weekend. Win or lose it has been a successful season for these squads but the sweet taste of Hershey Chocolate can only be exceeded by a Pennsylvania State Football Title. While nothing can match the hype of a championship game it will be a hard sell to beat the hard fought semi-finals last weekend.
Those that survived are primed and ready for a chilly but clear atmosphere at Hershey Park Stadium. The action starts on Friday at noon for the single A title and there will be no rest until the four A winner is crowned on Saturday night.
The playoff week five predictions will need some improvement this week as this future teller went 2-3 as Archbishop Wood and Southern Columbia won as predicted while North Penn’s win over LaSalle, Lancaster Catholic’s last minute victory over West Catholic and Central Dauphin’s upset of North Allegheny ruined a recent hot streak for this writer.
The last five years the prognostication record stands at 264-104 while going 50-25 for this season.
The AAAA championship is full of contrasts as the 11th seed in District One took the hard road of away games against higher seeds to reach Hershey. However North Penn’s coach Dick Beck has been here before with a 2003 title on his resume. The Knights will ride QB Corey Ernst as he directs the high powered offense averaging 384 yards per game. Their two early season losses are all but forgotten as their defense has allowed just 8 points per game while winning 13 games including five playoff victories. The Central Dauphin Rams come into the contest by beating the odds against their appearance. They are the first AAAA District Three team to reach the finals since 1995. Their win over North Allegheny was considered a big upset by many observers. QB Brandon LaVia has thrown 15 TD passes this season and running back Zayd Issah anchors the running attack. The Ram defense has been steady as well holding opponents to 14 points per game while accomplishing a 14-1 record this season. This writer has been underestimating North Penn the last two weeks and will not make that mistake again.
North Penn 31 Central Dauphin 20
The AAA final features what may be one of the best football teams to ever grace Hershey on a championship weekend. The Archbishop Wood Vikings come loaded with talent as Temple bound Brandon Peoples and Rutgers recruit Desmon Peoples lead the Wood offense that averages a whopping 46 points per game. The Wood defense is no push over and only allows 8 points per game. Their opponent for this title game may not have the same talent level but the Bishop McDevitt Crusaders may have the edge motivation. McDevitt suffered a gut wrenching 28-27 loss in last year’s title game to Allentown Central Catholic and this whole season has been devoted to taking that championship step this season. The Crusaders have three running backs to keep the Viking defense guessing as Rashad Lawson, Andre Robinson and Darnell Holland are all capable of dominating any given game. Archbishop Wood is just too deep to defeat this week.
Archbishop Wood 41 Bishop McDevitt 24
The rest of this week’s fearless title forecast:
Lancaster Catholic 34 Tyrone 17
Clairton 42 Southern Columbia 21
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