Archbishop Wood-Harrisburg Class 5A football championship preview
ARCHBISHOP WOOD (10-2-1) vs. HARRISBURG (11-3). Friday, 7 p.m., at HersheyPark Stadium. TV: Live on the Pennsylvania Cable Network.
ARCHBISHOP WOOD (10-2-1) vs. HARRISBURG (11-3).
Friday, 7 p.m., at HersheyPark Stadium.
TV: Live on the Pennsylvania Cable Network.
How they got here: Wood blanked Academy Park, 37-0; Harrisburg, of District 3, surprisingly pounded District 7's West Allegheny, 42-10.
About Wood: The Vikings are seeking their fourth state title in six seasons. They have reached the final five times since the Catholic League joined the PIAA in 2008. Their last crown came in 2014 with a 33-14 romp over District 7's Central Valley. . . . In 10 seasons in Warminster, Wood coach Steve Devlin has posted a 119-20-1 record. . . . The Vikings have a solid one-two rushing punch in Shawn Thompson (123 carries for 1,117 yards, 14 touchdowns) and Raheem "Speedy" Blackshear (112 for 1,013, 16). The 5-foot-10, 180-pound Blackshear, a Temple recruit, carried 20 times for 178 yards and a pair of first-quarter scores against Academy Park. . . . Sophomore quarterback Jack Colyar has completed 109 of 202 passes for 1,871 yards and 20 TDs. His primary targets are Blackshear, Georgia-bound wideout Mark Webb and tight end Kyle Pitts. The trio have combined for 86 receptions for 1,520 yards and 16 scores. . . . The offensive line is made up of center Tom Walsh (6-3, 235), guards Albert Glasgow (6-2, 250) and Connor Bishop (6-2, 245), tackles Matt Arcidiacono (6-2, 225) and Anthony Diodato (6-4, 260), and ends Pitts (6-6, 230) and Bill Shaeffer (6-4, 215). . . . Wood's defense has yielded an average of only 8.9 points in its last nine outings. Its rotation up front includes tackles Walsh, Diodato and Shaeffer and ends Thompson, Pitts and Adrian Lambert. . . . Ball-hawking junior linebacker Matt Palmer has scholarship offers from Rutgers and West Virginia. Fellow linebacker Tyler Smith, who left late in the first quarter against Academy Park due to an injury, is expected to return against Harrisburg. . . . The Vikings' Dan Zanine has booted eight field goals and 52 extra points. . . . Diodato, who switched from tight end to offensive tackle this season, has committed to Fordham.
About Harrisburg: The Cougars are making their first appearance in a state final. They advanced to the Class 4A semifinals in 2007 before losing to District 7's Pittsburgh Central Catholic, 14-6. . . . Harrisburg's Micah Parsons is a 6-3, 235-pound junior stalwart at running back and defensive end. Ranked as the No. 8 player in the class of 2018 by ESPN, the Central Dauphin transfer has committed to Penn State. With his speed and strength, the five-star prospect has scored nine TDs in the playoffs. . . . Junior quarterback Yahmir Wilkerson has completed 127 of 210 passes for 2,019 yards and 24 TDs. His main targets are Shaquon Anderson-Butts (37 catches for 708 yards, nine TDs), Ronald Kent, Joel Davis, and Donnell Henriquez. Davis is also dangerous as a kick returner.
A speedy and aggressive defensive line is spearheaded by Parsons, fellow end Damion Barber (6-3, 45), tackles Shaun Harris (6-0, 210) and Raymond Allen (6-1, 360) and linebacker Dionte Payne. Barber, a senior and four-star prospect, has also committed to Penn State. . . . The Cougars, who average 37.4 points per game, have won six straight since a 35-28 loss to State College on Oct. 21.
Pick: Harrisburg, 26-23.
- Rick O'BrienEndText