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Wood’s Special Special Teams Fuels Big Win

Written by: on Sunday, October 18th, 2015. Follow Don Leypoldt on Twitter.


With 2:07 elapsed on Sunday’s game, it was Cardinal O’Hara 3 and Archbishop donweek7a2015Wood 0.

Unfortunately for the visiting Lions (1-6), that was the number of offensive plays run.

Two enormous special teams plays- an 82 yard opening kickoff return for touchdown by junior Raheem Blackshear and a 59 yard punt return for score by senior Bobby Heck following an O’Hara three-and-out gave Wood a 14-0 lead before the Vikings’ offense even took the field. Wood (6-0) cruised to a 50-7 win, producing their third mercy rule victory in their last four contests.

When Wood did take the field, the Vikings marched 75 yards in nine plays. Rutgers commit Anthony Russo connected with junior Jalen Reynolds on a hitch route for 25 yards, then found senior Jordan Johnson over the middle six plays later for an 18 yard touchdown.

O’Hara responded. Three times on their next drive, junior quarterback Tommy O’Hara called his own number and converted a third down. But a big Anthony Diodato sack at the Wood-17 helped to set up a fourth and long.

Wood’s defense took over on downs at their own 12. After four straight completions, Blackshear raced 56 yards to the end zone out of the Wildcat to stake the Vikings to a 28-0 lead with 8:13 left in the half.

The Lions then seemed to have answers for Russo, who is arguably the best quarterback in the state. Senior linebacker Kyle Godsey picked off Russo on the second play of Wood’s next drive, and classmate Alvin Ebururah intercepted a Wood pass at his own four to kill the next drive. Russo seemed to have enough green in front of him to pick up the first down, yet he attempted the throw.

But the pick may have been a blessing in disguise for Wood. A three-and-out set up excellent starting field position at the O’Hara-30. Four Johnson touches, culminating with a seven yard swing pass for a score, marched the 30 yards and gave Wood a 35-0 lead entering halftime.

Russo completed 14-of-19 passes for 138 yards in the first half. Johnson, using a lot of hitches and slants, had eight grabs for 84 yards to pace Wood. The Vikings defense yielded just 64 total yards on 31 plays.

The Vikings- who will be heavy favorites in their final two PCL games- continued to show why they are frequently mentioned in the AAA PIAA state title conversation.


Don Leypoldt’s book Keystones and Wishbones: Faith, Values and Football in the Delaware Valley is now available on Amazon! The book features interviews with over a dozen NFL veterans, all with Delaware Valley ties. Click here to order:

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