HERSHEY, Pa. - In Archbishop Wood's second consecutive appearance in the PIAA Class AAA state semifinals, undefeated District 4 champion Selinsgrove exacted revenge from a year ago.
The Seals intercepted Vikings quarterback Jerry Rahill four times and turned three turnovers into touchdowns as Selinsgrove shut out Wood, 28-0, at HersheyPark Stadium last night.
"We never got going," said Wood coach Steve Devlin, who is 32-9 in three seasons. "It's a tough way to go out."
Wood (11-3) entered having won 11 straight after starting its season 0-2, beating North Catholic for the Catholic League title, Simon Gratz for the District 12 crown and Pottsgrove in the state quarterfinals.
But Selinsgrove (15-0) remembered its 13-7 loss to Wood last year on the same field and earned retribution that was keyed by two crucial turnovers early in the second half.
Down 14-0 as the second half began, Wood's defense forced Selinsgrove to go three and out and gave the Vikings' offense the ball on its own 20-yard line.
But Rahill's second-down screen pass was intercepted by Seals defensive lineman Jon Trego and returned 19 yards for a touchdown. Then a Rahill fumble on Wood's next possession led to a one-yard touchdown run by Selinsgrove fullback Bryant Trautman.
"We just kept shooting ourselves in the foot," said Wood wide receiver Sam McCain, who had six catches for 93 yards. "Every time we had a good defensive series, we'd do something, and it would just kill a drive."
Rahill finished a difficult evening 12 of 29 passing for 160 yards and four interceptions. Wood fullback Kevin Murt gained minus-1 yard on five carries, and tailback Scott Adkins gained only 39 yards on 14 rushes.
Selinsgrove's defense held Wood's offense to 59 total yards in the first half, limiting Rahill to two completions in 10 attempts for 21 yards and an interception. He was intercepted on Wood's first drive by Trautman, who doubles as a linebacker, as the Seals' pass-rush forced an errant throw.
Selinsgrove took over in Vikings territory and drove 48 yards in nine plays, capped by a 10-yard touchdown pass with 2 minutes, 41 seconds to play in the quarter from quarterback Cory Briggs to wideout Ryan Keiser. Keiser made a difficult one-handed catch as he fought off Vikings cornerback Adkins with the other for the 7-0 lead.
Briggs, a Harvard-bound senior, finished 11 of 20 for 125 yards with two touchdown passes to Keiser and an interception.
The second TD pass was a 14-yard out to the 6-foot-2 Keiser, who turned past a defender and stiff-armed another down the sideline as he raced for a 55-yard touchdown and a 14-0 lead with 1:55 to play in the first half.
McCain had intercepted Briggs on third down with 4:21 remaining. But after the offense went three and out, Selinsgrove capitalized.
"We knew he was good," Devlin said of Keiser, who made six catches for 151 yards and two scores.
Wood's triumphant season ends with a disappointing loss, but the overall result after a state final appearance in 2008-09 could have been worse.
"I'm proud of the way the kids fought back," Devlin said. "We won 11 games in a row. It's a great accomplishment."
Archbishop Wood 0 0 0 0 - 0
Selinsrove 7 7 14 0 - 28
S: Ryan Keiser 10 pass from Cory Briggs (Spencer Hotaling kick)
S: Keiser 55 pass from Briggs (Hotaling kick)
S: Jon Trego 19 interception return (Hotaling kick)