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Archbishop Wood And Coatesville Ready For Championship Weekend

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Top 10

Week of Dec. 14, 2012

1. Coatesville (Record: 13-2. Previous Week: 4. Weeks Rated: 10.)

2. La Salle (Record: 12-2. Season over.)

3. St. Joseph’s Prep (Record: 10-1. Season over.)

4. Archbishop Wood (Record: 12-2. Previous Week: 3. Weeks rated 15.)

5. Episcopal Academy (Record: 10-0. Season over.)

6. Imhotep Charter (Record: 14-1. Season over.)

7. Spring-Ford (Record: 12-3. Season over.)

8. Pennridge (Record: 12-2. Season over.)

9. Downingtown East (Record: 10-1. Season over.)

10. Interboro (Record: 11-2. Season over.)

By Joseph Santoliquito

Philadelphia, PA (CBS) — The biggest priority for Archbishop Wood this season was to forget. The Vikings stomped on everyone in their path in 2011 toward capturing their first PIAA Class AAA state championship, breaking all kinds of school records and creating a niche as one of the greatest high school teams ever in Southeastern Pennsylvania history.

Wood coach Steve Devlin wanted to place those memories in a box in the beginning of this season to collect dust, because 2012 meant new challenges, with a new team—though the same goal, this time repeating as state champions and possibly making more history as the first two-time PIAA state champion from the Philadelphia Catholic League.

The Vikings are in a position to do that, when they face 14-0 Cathedral Prep at 7 p.m. Friday at Hersheypark Stadium in the Class AAA state title game.

Coatesville, 13-2, is the other area team that’s made it to the state finals, playing undefeated North Allegheny (15-0), the three-time defending WPIAL AAAA champions, 6 p.m. Saturday in the Class AAAA championship at Hersheypark Stadium.

Both are teams have daunting tasks against a pair of Western Pennsylvania powerhouses.

Class AAA State Final: Wood vs. Cathedral Prep, 7 p.m. Friday at Hersheypark Stadium

Wood will need to contain Ramblers’ Michigan State-bound senior quarterback Damion Terry, who’s thrown for 3,282 yards and 48 touchdowns, completing 209-of-309 passes, and Delton Williams, another Michigan State commit, who’s rushed for 663 yards and caught 56 passes for 785 yards, scoring 23 touchdowns.

The Vikings will counter with a ground game that averages 283.9 yards a game, led by senior Andrew Guckin, who’s piled up 1,817 yards rushing and 29 touchdowns. The senior-laden offensive line of Fran Walsh, Chris O’Connor, George Griffin and tight end Brandon Arcidiacono, a Rutgers commit, has been the backbone of this team.

Freshman quarterback Tom Garlick has started for Wood since the third week of the season and has thrown for 976 yards, completing 63-of-126 for nine touchdowns. Garlick will also be looking to make some personal history, as the first freshman quarterback to lead his team to a Pennsylvania state championship since 1999, when Dave Shinskie led Mount Carmel Area against Tyrone, according to EasternPAFootball.com.

Wood has not posted a shutout this year, though the Vikings have been somewhat stubborn defensively, allowing an average of 15.8 points a game.

Class AAAA State Final: Coatesville vs. North Allegheny, 6 p.m. Saturday at Hersheypark Stadium

The Red Raiders, along with Episcopal Academy, have been the surprise of the season. Their speed and high-octane offense outscored everyone in the District 1 playoffs—then went on to beat favored La Salle in the state semifinals to earn the school’s first-ever state championship berth in football.

Coatesville will have to contend with the Tigers’ senior quarterback Mack Leftwich, who’s thrown for 3,116 yards and 43 touchdowns and only four interceptions. He’s 29-1 as a two-year starter for North Allegheny, which also features senior receiver Gregg Garrity, the son of former Penn State receiving star Gregg Garrity, who played for the Eagles and Steelers and caught Hall of Famer Terry Bradshaw’s next-to-last career touchdown pass.

Red Raiders coach Matt Ortega’s switch to a spread offense has ignited a team that’s averaging 40.1 points per game and has won 11 straight. During their winning streak, they’ve outscored opponents by an average of 27.8 a game.

Senior quarterback Emmett Hunt has tossed 43 touchdowns and will need long threat Chris Jones, who’s caught 68 passes and 24 touchdowns, to break free a few times. A shootout benefits Coatesville. A prolonged, pounding game doesn’t.

(Stats provided by EasternPAFootball.com)

Joseph Santoliquito is a contributing sports blogger for CBS Philly.

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