HERSHEY, Pa. - While Jarrett McClenton is excited about his football future at Villanova, Hersheypark Stadium will always hold a special place in his heart.
That's because McClenton, for the second straight year, shined for Archbishop Wood in the PIAA Class AAA championship game.
The 5-foot-8, 165-pound speedster rushed for 232 yards and four touchdowns on 26 carries Friday night, as the Vikings retained the title with a 33-14 triumph over District 7's Central Valley.
Last season, when Wood defeated District 3's Bishop McDevitt by 22-10 for its second crown in three years, McClenton ran 40 times for 238 yards and a pair of scores.
"He must like this place, I guess," Vikings coach Steve Devlin said. "To me, he's one of the best players in the state."
In 14 games this year, McClenton rushed for 2,188 yards and 37 TDs. Over the last three seasons, he ran for 4,536 yards and 73 scores.
"There's no better player to block for than Jarrett," said Wood's Ryan Bates, a 6-5, 280-pound lineman and Penn State recruit. "You give him a little keyhole to run through, and he'll do it."
Vikings senior fullback Alex Arcangeli complimented McClenton nicely, rumbling for 132 yards on 16 carries. His 7-yard dash around left end closed the scoring with 11/2 minutes remaining.
In the opening 11 minutes, McClenton scored twice from the 12 to give the District 12 titlists a 12-0 advantage.
The Warriors (15-1) gained life on the final play of the first half, as Brandon Wilson intercepted Anthony Russo's pass and returned it 48 yards to make the score 12-7.
"We're about making plays," Devlin said. "We were being aggressive. I knew our guys would come out in the second half and make plays."
Late in the third quarter, McClenton's 51-yard sprint and conversion run put the Vikings (14-1) in front, 20-7. Central Valley, of suburban Pittsburgh, quickly answered with Johnny George's 55-yard TD pass to Kurt Reinstadtler.
McClenton and Arcangeli went right back to work, sharing the load on a nine-play, 58-yard drive. McClenton's 15-yard burst produced a 26-14 lead with 5:35 to play.
In addition to Bates, Wood's stout offensive line featured center Ryan Neher, guards Tom Cardoza and Shawn Scroger, tackle Kurt Stengel, and tight end Christian Lohin.
"They do a great job every game, just opening up holes for me," McClenton said. "I have a hole every time. I love every single one" of the seniors.
Wood's defense, which notched five sacks, limited fleet tailback and Pittsburgh recruit Jordan Whitehead to 34 yards on 13 carries.
Central Valley 0 7 0 7 - 14
Archbishop Wood 12 0 8 13 - 33
AW: Jarrett McClenton 12 run (kick blocked)
AW: McClenton 12 run (pass failed)
CV: Brandon Wilson 48 interception return (Brendan Jugan kick)
AW: McClenton 51 run (McClenton run)
CV: Kurt Reinstadtler 55 pass from Johnny George (Jugan kick)
AW: McClenton 15 run (pass failed)