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Diodato and Wood take aim at fourth state crown

Anthony Diodato had a pretty good idea that Archbishop Wood's coaches would ask him to switch from tight end to offensive tackle as a senior.

Anthony Diodato had a pretty good idea that Archbishop Wood's coaches would ask him to switch from tight end to offensive tackle as a senior.

"I'm one of the biggest guys on the team, so it made sense," the 6-foot-4, 260-pounder said. "With the help of the coaches, it's been a smooth transition."

Aided by Diodato's strength and aggressiveness, the Vikings scored on each of their first six possessions and rolled to a 37-0 triumph over Academy Park in a PIAA Class 5A semifinal Friday night at chilly Plymouth Whitemarsh.

Raheem "Speedy" Blackshear, who carried 20 times for 178 yards and a pair of first-quarter touchdowns, and Shawn Thompson are Wood's go-to running backs.

"All you have to do is open a small hole for them, and they're gone," Diodato said.

At 7 p.m. Friday at Hersheypark Stadium, Wood (10-2-1) will take on District 3's Harrisburg (11-3) for top honors.

Last year, Wood's run for a fourth state crown was cut short by eventual champion Imhotep Charter in the District 12 Class 3A final.

"That one really hurt," Diodato said. "That's been on our minds for the last year. We were hungry to get back to Hershey."

Against undersized and overmatched Academy Park, the Vikings netted 214 yards on the ground on 40 attempts. Jack Colyar completed 7 of 13 passes for 111 yards and a TD.

Thompson's 1-yard TD run around the right corner with 81/2 minutes left in the third quarter capped the scoring and brought on a running clock. The second-teamers took over from there.

Also a defensive tackle, Diodato and company limited the Knights (13-2) to 52 yards rushing on 11 attempts and 12 passing on three completions in the first half.

Diodato is also a regular at defensive tackle. The rotation up front includes fellow tackles Tom Walsh and Bill Shaeffer and ends Thompson, Kyle Pitts, and Adrian Lambert.

The linebacking corps is headlined by Matt Palmer and Tyler Smith. Smith suffered an injury late in the first quarter and did not return.

Diodato, of Warminster, was named first-team all-Catholic League Red Division on both sides of the ball.

The 18-year-old will continue his football career at Fordham. He plans to major in one of 14 fields at the highly regarded Gabelli School of Business.

RIP. Bobby Burns, 82, one of the biggest supporters of Neumann-Goretti's sports teams, died Wednesday night.

In addition to being a regular at games, the lifelong South Philadelphia resident created personalized photo frames and presented them to players as keepsakes. Burns, who lived near 15th and Porter Streets, was a 1951 graduate of Southeast Catholic.

Neumann-Goretti's baseball team gave both Burns and fellow Saints enthusiast Gayton Bongiorno, a 1964 St. John Neumann graduate, a framed photo, signed by all the players and coaches, of its Catholic League championship celebration after a June state-playoff victoy.

The viewing for Burns will be 9:30 to a11 a.m. Monday at St. Monica Church at 17th and Ritner Streets. It will be followed by a Mass.

Recognized. Former Penn Charter baseball coach Rick Mellor and current North Penn girls' basketball coach Maggie deMarteleire were recently inducted into the Montgomery County Coaches Hall of Fame.

Mellor compiled a 451-198 record, won 10 Inter-Ac League titles, and captured a Pennsylvania Independent Schools Athletic Association crown in 32 seasons.

After a successful 16-year stint at Lansdale Catholic, deMarteleire took over at North Penn in 2008 and turned the Knights into a consistent winner. She notched her 500th career victory in February.

Craig Littlepage, a basketball great at Cheltenham and Penn, received the organization's lifetime achievement award. He led Cheltenham to the PIAA state final in 1968.