Archbishop Wood is again on the doorstep of winning a PIAA Class AAA football championship.
In 2008, the Vikings advanced to the final before bowing to District 7's Thomas Jefferson. That was followed by semifinal losses against District 4's Selinsgrove and District 11's Allentown Central Catholic.
On Friday at 7 o'clock at Hersheypark Stadium, Steve Devlin's squad will try to finally kick down the door against District 3's Bishop McDevitt of Harrisburg.
Here is a closer look at the title clash:
Records. McDevitt, with 12 straight victories, is 13-2. Wood, perfect since a Week 1 loss to Pittsburgh Central Catholic, is 13-1.
Scoring at will. The Crusaders, with an I-formation/spread attack, average 36.1 points per game. The Vikings average 46.2.
Blue-chip recruit. McDevitt's Noah Spence, a 6-foot-4, 245-pound senior, is the No. 1-ranked defensive end in the country's Class of 2012, according to Scout.com. Notre Dame's Brian Kelly and LSU's Les Miles made in-home visits this week.
Also on the list of finalists for the hard-charging Spence, who also sees time at tight end, are Ohio State, Florida, Maryland, and Penn State.
Experienced group. The Crusaders' 4-3 defense, which returned eight starters, allows an average of 12.7 points a game.
The unit also includes linebacker/lineman Tariq Spence, Noah's brother, linebackers Brock Dean and Allen Holman, and cornerback/safety Miles Williams. The 6-1, 220-pound Dean is bound for Maryland.
Explosive. Wood's offense, spurred by running backs Desmon and Brandon Peoples, has averaged 51.4 points in the playoffs.
"The biggest thing I notice about their offense is the size of their line and how fast their guys fire off the ball," Crusaders coach Jeff Weachter said.
Quality passer. McDevitt's Alec Werner has connected on 217 of 313 throws for 3,279 yards and 30 touchdowns with six interceptions.
Werner's top targets are Brian Lemelle (82 catches for 1,503 yards, 15 TDs) and Shawn Seif (68 for 890, six). Lemelle, a 5-11, 175-pound junior, is a Division I recruit.
Sharing the ball. The Crusaders spread the ball among three running backs: Rashad Lawson (160 carries for 904 yards, 14 TDs), Andre Robinson (112 for 842, 16), and Darnell Holland (103 for 634, 11).
Battle to watch. Keep an on the interior tussle between Spence and, depending on the package, as many as four Wood players: tackles Frank Taylor and Nick Arcidiacono, and tight ends Colin Thompson and Jon Vicari.
Analysis. McDevitt represents Wood's toughest test since its Week 1 loss. The game, depending on the weather conditions, could turn into a track meet. However it plays out, the Vikings won't be denied.
Pick: Wood, 45-28.