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Trip to Hershey awaits the victors

Written by: on Wednesday, December 7th, 2011. Follow Joe Stokes on Twitter.

 

The long season for the sixteen teams remaining in the hunt for a Pennsylvania State Championship is almost over. The action this weekend is what every high school team in the state strives for from the heat of August summer camp to cold nights of December. The chance of winning it all in Hershey is on the line and the remaining teams will leave nothing on the field in these semi-final contests.

The schedule is set and the buses will be loaded Friday and Saturday throughout the state in hope of that dream trip to come true. In the east five of the eight teams remaining are making a return trip to this level as LaSalle, North Penn, West Catholic, Archbishop Wood and Allentown Central Catholic all made it to the semifinals last year.

The playoff week four predictions went very well as this future teller went 4-1 as LaSalle, Archbishop Wood, Allentown Central Catholic and West Catholic won as predicted while North Penn’s win over Council Rock South ruined what would have been a second perfect week in a row for this writer.

The last five years the prognostication record stands at 262-101 while going 48-22 for this season.

This Saturday the AAAA beast of the east contest features a return showdown between the LaSalle Explorers and the North Penn Knights. LaSalle came out the winner last season in an exciting 38-35 battle royal. These squads also met earlier this year and once again it was an Explorer 44-27 victory. The two coaches have Pa State titles in their resume as LaSalle’s Drew Gordon won it all in 2009 and North Penn’s Dick Beck held the ring in 2003. This game is every fans dream match. The game may well depend on the offensive line play of both squads. Great blocking by Dan Wasylenko, Connor Kerrigan and Pat Hoffman has been the anchor for QB Matt Magarity to lead the Explorer offense to average 32 points per game this season. North Penn counters with 300 pounders John Garland and T.J. Smink on their offensive line. They allow QB Corey Ernst to run a high powered show that averages 38 points a game. The call here is that LaSalle will find a way to wear down the Knights late in the game.

LaSalle 42 North Penn 34

The AAA Eastern final is also a rematch from 2010. Allentown Central Catholic trounced Archbishop Wood 49-27 on their way to a State Championship victory the following week over Bishop McDevitt. Both teams are known as the Vikings and they will need to be ready to play in a cold climate as Friday night may not get above freezing at Northeast High School in Philadelphia. 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 44 points per game. The Wood defense is no push over and only allows 8 points per game. Allentown Central Catholic will show up with South Carolina bound QB Brandon Nosovitch who has 36 TD passes under his belt. The bet here is that Wood’s running attack will prevail.

Archbishop Wood 47 Allentown Central Catholic 35

The rest of this week’s fearless forecast:

West Catholic 31 Lancater Catholic 21

Southern Columbia 35 Penns Manor 13

North Allegheny 38 Central Dauphin 24

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