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 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).

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).

 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. The Vikings won't be denied.

Pick: Wood, 45-28.

Archbishop Wood at a Glance

Record: (13-1)

Coach: Steve Devlin (fifth year, 58-11).

Total Points: 647.

Points Allowed: 124.



Date                Opponent                   Result

Sept. 4             at Pittsburgh C.C.             L, 17-20

Sept. 10             West Catholic                W, 28-0

Sept. 17             at Conwell-Egan             W, 53-8

Sept. 23             St. Joseph's Prep             W, 42-7

Oct. 1             Glen Mills                   W,   51-20

Oct. 8             Mastery Charter             W, 57-0

Oct. 14             at Archbishop Carroll       W, 55-7

Oct. 23             Monsignor Bonner          W, 49-6

Oct. 29             Cardinal O'Hara             W, 38-0


Date                Opponent                   Result

Nov. 5             Archbishop Carroll         W, 55-6

Nov. 12             Monsignor Bonner          W, 42-14

Nov. 19             Dobbins                      W, 49-0

Dec. 2             Pottsgrove                   W, 41-22

Dec. 9             Allentown C.C.               W, 70-14

Projected Starters vs. Bishop McDevitt


No.    Pos.       Player                   Class         Ht.    Wt.

51       T          Nick Arcidiacono        Jr.          6-2   230

73       G          Fran Walsh              Jr.          6-1    235

52       C          Brandon Arcidiacono Sr.          6-6    255

78       G          George Griffin           Jr.          6-3    255

65       T          Frank Taylor           Sr.          6-4    295

84       TE       Colin Thompson        Sr.          6-5    255

11       WR       Nate Smith              Sr.          6-1    190

2       WR       Kyle Adkins           Sr.          6-0    185

13       QB       Joey Monaghan        Sr.          6-1    190

3       FB       Brandon Peoples        Sr.          5-10    180

1       TB       Desmon Peoples        Sr.          5-7    170


No.    Pos.       Player                 Class         Ht.    Wt.

44       DE       Jonathan Vicari        Sr.          6-0    220

52       DT       Brandon Arcidiacono Sr.          6-6    255

84      DT       Colin Thompson        Sr.          6-5    255

3       DE       Brandon Peoples        Sr.          5-10    180

4       LB       Andrew Guckin        Jr.          6-0    195

2       LB       Kyle Adkins           Sr.          6-0    185

86       LB       Benji Abercrombie     Jr.            6-3    195

20       CB       Ulis Jordan              Sr.          6-1    175

10       CB       Anthony Roakes        Jr.            5-8    155

11       SS       Nate Smith              Sr.          6-1    190

13       FS       Joey Monaghan        Sr.          6-1    190

- Rick O'Brien