HERSHEY, Pa. - Unstoppable was the operative word that
described Selinsgrove's pass-happy multiple offense, one that
helped the Seals roll to 13 consecutive victories.
Except that their PIAA Class AAA state semifinal opponent, Archbishop Wood, welcomed the challenge.
"We have a good defense, I guess," said defensive back Scott Adkins, whose unit held Selinsgrove to 62 passing yards last night. "We proved a lot, because they supposedly have a high-powered offense. And we shut them down."
Now the rest of Pennsylvania knows just how good the Vikings' defense is. They shut down the Seals' passing game in a 13-7 PIAA Class AAA state semifinal victory at HersheyPark Stadium.
The victory advanced Wood (12-2) into Friday's Class AAA state championship game here at HersheyPark Stadium. The Vikings will face the defending state champion, Thomas Jefferson, a 49-21 winner over West York in last night's other semifinal in Altoona.
Wood, which is ranked 10th in Southeastern Pennsylvania by The Inquirer, is the first District 12 team to reach the Class AAA state final. The Philadelphia Public League joined the PIAA as District 12 members in 2004. The Catholic League became a participating member of the district this season.
Making history shouldn't come as a surprise.
Wood has outscored this season's opponents by 475-127.
Prior to last night, the Vikings' last competitive contest was a 28-17 setback to West Catholic on Sept. 26. Since then, Wood has nine consecutive victories.
With strong armed quarterback Cory Briggs, the Seals (13-2) were supposed to attack the Vikings' defensive backs. Briggs went into the game with 2,179 passing yards and 30 touchdowns.
However, the junior completed just 9 of 19 passes for 62 yards. Adkins intercepted one of his pass attempts in the first quarter. Selinsgrove was held to 151 yards of total offense.
"The coaches all week just gave us their routes and everything," Adkins said. "And the D-line just took a lot of pressure and forced a throw. Luckily, I was in the right position."
While Briggs struggled, Wood quarterback Sean McCartney had a big game.
The 6-foot-3 senior completed 9 of 13 passes for 126 yards and a touchdown. He also had 19 carries for 68 yards and another score.
Early on, the game had all the signs of a shoot-out.
McCartney's 7-yard touchdown capped a 10-play, 68-yard drive on the game's opening drive. After the extra-point attempt was blocked, Wood led 6-0 with 6 minutes, 57 seconds left in the first quarter.
Selinsgrove answered it with a touchdown 37 seconds later. Running back Kyle Reinard scooted in from 46 yards out. Matt Salsman's extra point gave the Seals a 7-6 cushion.
But Wood took a 13-7 lead on its third possession of the game. McCartney completed an 8-yard touchdown pass to Anthony Narisi with 6:47 left in the half. It turned out to be the final points of the night.
Archbishop Wood 6 7 0 0 - 13
Selinsgrove 7 0 0 0 - 7
AW: McCartney 7 run (kick blocked)
AW: Reinard 46 run (Salsman kick)
AW: Narisi 8 pass from McCartney (McFadden kick)