Imagine how often a teenager pops open his cell phone.
Fifty times a day? Sometimes, even 50 times in one hour?
Whatever the number, it's supposed to be a happy experience. The kid's going to have fun texting or chirping or texting some more.
But there, for the better part of a year, was Desmon Peoples. Each time he visited Cell Phone Land, he had to relive agony.
Wait, he didn't HAVE to. He chose to.
The 5-8, 170-pound Peoples, who's bound for Rutgers, is a star tailback for Archbishop Wood High's football team. And the background pic on his phone was snapped at this juncture in 2010, right after what he said was "probably the worst feeling" he'd ever experienced.
Due to a broken foot, Peoples was unable to play as Wood fell to Allentown Central Catholic, 49-27, in a PIAA Class AAA state semifinal. The photo showed Desmon on crutches, off to the side, with an extra-forlorn look on his face, as the teams traded post-game handshakes.
"I kept telling Desmon it wasn't his fault, that getting hurt was not on him," said his first cousin, Temple-bound Brandon Peoples, the Vikings' other primary rusher out of the fullback position. "I told him that what happens AFTER the injury is really what counts.
"He did such a great job with his rehab, he got his foot to even a better place. He cuts better off it now than he did before."
Brandon and Desmon, their play having spoken volumes, did their talking last night on the field at Northeast High's Charlie Martin Memorial Stadium, shortly after Wood posted a monumental victory.
In that 2010 affair, ACC quarterback Brendan Nosovitch, who was still around last night, exploded for 602 yards of rushing/passing and was part of all seven touchdowns. This game was another all-timer, though in a different vein.
Think about it. How often is the margin of victory in a state semifinal 56 points?
Wood 70, ACC 14. Gulp . . . Gulp again.
"I gotta be honest," Brandon Peoples said. "I didn't see that comin' at ALL."
Was Desmon similiarly surprised?
"Yeah, I guess," he said, not exactly sounding like Mr. Convincing. He added, "We knew what we had to do. Come out here and give it our all. One-hundred percent every play. Bottom line, that's what we did."
Pretty much from the start.
On play No. 2, Brandon bolted for 15 yards. Desmon then dashed for 45 and Brandon followed with a 7-yard touchdown run. ACC managed two first downs on its first possession, but a pass breakup by cornerback Nate Smith (West Virginia) forced a punt and the local Vikings (that's also ACC's nickname) needed just six plays to again light up the scoreboard with another 7-yard run by Brandon.
"On the first one," he said, "the whole line gave me great blocks. I just had to burst through a really big hole. The second one, I had to run over people to get in there. I like those kind better."
Wood was barely scratching the surface, folks.
It added two more scores in the first quarter and yet another on the very first play of the second, making it 35-0 thanks to Nick Visco's kicks, and 4:19 before halftime Desmon was making it 41-7 with a 77-yard scamper.
By halftime, which ended 41-14, Wood owned the outrageous sum of 576 all-purpose yards.
"This has been a long wait since last year," Desmon said. "Any time I needed motivation, I just had to check (his phone). I couldn't WAIT to play this game. I was so excited. I had to come out full throttle."
Desmon finished with 11 carries for 179 yards and two TDs. Brandon managed 136 and three on the same number of rushes. Backup Ryan McMullin turned five carries into 99 yards and two scores and Josh Messina motored 81 yards for one last TD with 2:14 remaining.
The mercy rule had been in effect since 10:54 was showing in the third quarter. That was when Smith returned a punt for a here-there-everywhere, 62-yard TD (en route to 171 yards on four returns) and tight end Colin Thompson (Florida) expanded the bulge to 49-14 on a conversion catch from Joey Monaghan.
In part because the game was televised by The Comcast Network, but mostly because 87 scrimmage plays were run, the first half required 88 minutes. And even with the running clock, the end time was 9:45.
Throughout the fourth quarter, Wood's starters mostly interacted with themselves and the fans.
When they weren't lobbing/catching Hershey Kisses, symbolic of the fact that next Friday's state final, vs. Bishop McDevitt of Harrisburg, will take place in Chocolate Town, they were trying to dump ice cubes on coaches and even running over to the student section to lead a rendition of the na-na, hey-hey, goodbye song.
For part of the time, Desmon Peoples wore a viking helmet -- yup, complete with those curly horns -- his father tossed down from the stands.
In all, Wood amassed 633 yards on 45 plays (14.1 average!) while adding 203 on returns (836 total). Crucial to the offensive explosion was the presence of tackle Frank Taylor (Boston College) and guard Nick Arcidiacono; they'd missed the Pottsgrove quarterfinal due to injury.
Nosovitch passed 23-for-52 for 253 yards and two TDs. The upstate Vikings finished with 550 all-purpose yards largely because Kevin Gulyas rang up 162 on eight returns of kickoffs.
Wood's defense received strong outings from Smith (forced fumble, five solo tackles, three pass defends), Anthony Roakes (eight solos, fumble recovery), Kyle Adkins (seven tackles) and Benji Abercrombie (six pass defends).
As Wood's players and coaches gathered for their post-game meeting, coach Steve Devlin mostly kept it brief.
One of his better comments: "We got this one. Might as well win next week."
The Peoples cousins smiled broadly. Cell phone background photo op.