December 8, 2013 |
Because of early precipitation and a forecast of continued rain, the PIAA postponed all four of Friday night's state-playoff football games. Among the matchups moved to Saturday was the Class AAA semifinal between Archbishop Wood and Berwick. It is scheduled for 5 p.m. at J. Birney Crum Stadium in Allentown. There will be two other Saturday semifinals involving area teams: Neshaminy vs. St. Joseph's Prep (Class AAAA) at 3 p.m. at Northeast; and Imhotep Charter vs. Berks Catholic (AA)
December 7, 2013 |
There's little chance of Archbishop Wood, despite its size and speed advantage, taking Berwick lightly. The District 2 champions are 14-0, have outscored foes by 571-148, have a rich history that includes six state titles, and are guided by Pennsylvania's all-time winningest coach. Wood, in trying to move closer to its second PIAA Class AAA state championship in three seasons, will take on longtime coach George Curry and the Dawgs in a semifinal at 7 p.m. Friday at J. Birney Crum Stadium in Allentown.
December 6, 2013 |
PAY ATTENTION to enough sidelines during high school football and you'll see coaches, and/or players, standing with signs above their heads relaying messages encoded by all sorts of wacky things. On the Imhotep sideline last weekend, one sign had four ciphers: a comic-book photo of Aquaman, the Arizona State Sun Devils mascot, a San Diego State Aztecs decal and the famous photo of Allen Iverson stepping over Tyronn Lue in Game 1 of the 2001 NBA Finals. What does it all mean? Who cares?
December 6, 2013 |
Though his three brothers might say otherwise, Josh Messina is arguably the best in his family to play football for Archbishop Wood. At the very least, he is the most versatile. The 5-foot-9, 180-pound senior captain is a fullback and wingback on offense. On the other side, he can line up at defensive end, inside linebacker, or outside linebacker. "He really never comes off the field," Wood coach Steve Devlin said. "He's got great instincts and quickness. You're never going to be able to outrun him. " The bad news for Devlin and the Vikings is that Josh is the last of Chris and Cathy Messina's football-loving sons.
December 5, 2013 |
BEFORE THE BALL is snapped, Archbishop Wood junior Jake Cooper lurks at middle linebacker. His eyes dart side to side, reading offensive keys he picked up from film study. He gesticulates furiously, playing maestro while his teammates move to the rhythm of his hands. Opposing running backs must also see this from the backfield. The irony is thick, because both ballcarrier and defender must decipher where the line will fracture. What happens next comes down to something else. And, only one outcome is on Cooper's mind.
December 3, 2013 |
CITY LEAGUES' schools scored a clean sweep over the weekend as Imhotep, Archbishop Wood and St. Joseph's Prep notched PIAA quarterfinal football victories with relative degrees of domination. The AA Panthers blanked Catasauqua, 49-0, and at 3 p.m. on Saturday at Governor Mifflin High School in Shillington, Pa., will face Berks Catholic, which sacked Troy, 33-6. The District 3 Saints (14-0) feature a potent rushing attack with 59 rushing touchdowns this season. Deandre Scott, an Arizona State commit, sparked the Panthers (11-2)
December 2, 2013 |
Reprinted from Saturday's editions Luke Spahits knew where he was going after he scored. Archbishop Wood's senior fullback knew who deserved credit for those touchdowns. He made quick U-turns after his first two scores and found an offensive lineman running toward him, ready to catch him in his celebratory leap. As it did after Spahits' first two scores, the offensive line carried Archbishop Wood in Friday's state Class AAA quarterfinal against Academy Park at Northeast, setting up six rushing touchdowns in a 42-14 win. "I owe it all to them," Spahits said.
December 1, 2013 |
WINNING FOOTBALL teams come in a variety of flavors. Some teams are carried by a lone star whose talent drags everyone along for the ride. But, there are also squads such as Archbishop Wood, which possesses depth that leaves opponents to play a futile game of Whac-A-Mole. For proof, we have last night's 42-14 whitewashing of Academy Park in the quarterfinals of the PIAA playoffs. Wood senior Jarrett McClenton entered the game with a team-leading 23 rushing touchdowns. However, senior Luke Spahits, who came in with just five ground tallies, played leading man. "Everyone from the starters to the second- and third-stringers has the mindset to come out on the field and do damage," said Spahits, a 5-10, 195-pounder.
November 30, 2013 |
It is smashmouth football at its best, with both teams taking a run-the-ball-down-your-throat approach and with bone-rattling hits the norm. In what figures to be another backyard brawl, North Penn and Neshaminy are set to clash in the playoffs for the sixth time in the last seven years. The Knights (10-3) and Redskins (12-1) will vie for the PIAA District 1 Class AAAA championship - and a berth in the state semifinals - at 7 p.m. Friday at Souderton. Combined, the teams have won eight of the last 12 district titles.