WARMINSTER >> It was not one play, or drive or quarter that did in Archbishop Wood against St. Joseph’s Prep.
Instead, it was a culmination of a lot of things adding up adding up throughout the course of the nationally televised Philadelphia Catholic League Red Division contest at William Tennent. Wood wasn’t able to execute when it needed on both sides of the ball and with the Prep able to take advantage, the Hawks claimed a 43-24 victory in the league opener for both teams.
“We’re young, we’re learning and we’re not playing just anybody,” Wood coach Steve Devlin said. “You open up a USA Today and Wayne (Ohio) is No. 12, St. Joe’s is No. 19 and Bergen (Catholic) is No. 23 in the country. We have to get better. Our goal is to win a state championship, and that’s still there.”
Earlier in the day, Wood receiver Mark Webb announced he would be attending Georgia to continue his athletic career, joining Prep’s standout running back D’Andre Swift. Certainly a pull for ESPNU, which televised the game, neither was much of a factor.
Swift was limited by a bad ankle that held him out of practice all week, getting just one carry in the first half and catching two balls in very limited second half action. Webb had one grab for 27 yards, being shadowed by the Prep’s Richard Carr all night with Wood’s passing game again misfiring.
“We have to execute,” Devlin said. “We’re still making too many mistakes and we have to get better at it.”
Wood scored first when sophomore quarterback Jack Coylar ran it in on a 10-yard keeper. The Prep got on the board with 2:08 left in the first quarter on a trick play when Carr hit quarterback Marquez McCray for a 12-yard TD pass. That drive had been set up by Prep’s special teams blocking a Wood punt and getting the ball at the Vikings’ 14-yard line.
Coylar fumbled and lost the ball on the next play from scrimmage, turning the ball over to the Hawks at the Wood 26, which the Prep wasn’t able to convert. But when the Hawks defense forced another fumble from Coylar and recovered on Wood’s next snap to end the first quarter, they cashed in.
A 25-yard run from Christian Waller, Swift’s replacement at running back, put St. Joe’s ahead 12-7 with 11:07 left in the first half. Wood responded with a 36-yard field goal from Dan Zanine, then a 12-yard TD pass from Coylar to Shawn Thompson with 2:30 left in the half.
But in another example of the Vikings not executing, they allowed the Prep to march right down the field and scored when McCray hit Carr for a 36-yard touchdown then a two-point conversion to make it 20-17 with 17.7 seconds left in the half.
“We just weren’t executing,” Wood senior Dan Freeman said. “It wasn’t anything we weren’t seeing or planned for, we didn’t execute. We made some mistakes and it hurt us.”
Neither team played anywhere near its best in the first half and it was still a three-point game, something the Wood players went into the locker room taking confidence in.
“We felt like we gave them everything the first half,” Devlin said. “That’s what I mean, we have to come out and execute. We’ll do a better job of that, I promise you that.”
The third quarter’s only scoring came thanks to the Prep defense. After backing Wood up to its own 5-yard line, the Hawks pressured Coylar into a hurried pass from the end zone that was flagged for intentional grounding, granting St. Joe’s a safety.
Just two plays into the fourth, the Hawks scored when McCray carried one yard for a touchdown, making it briefly 29-17. The Vikings came right back with a three-play scoring drive, the bulk coming on a 46-yard touchdown pass from Coylar to tight end Kyle Pitts.
However, that didn’t last long either as the Prep came right back and upped its lead. The key play on the drive was a fantastic grab by Terrance Greene over Webb in coverage on the sideline, followed by the receiver taking an end-around nine yards for a score.
“Our (defensive)-backs have to play better,” Freeman said. “That starts with me. I have to play better. Sometimes we’re just making mental mistakes, it’s nothing physical, just mental mistakes. We have to finish drives on offense and play better as a team.”
Waller ended the night with 138 yards rushing, getting to that mark on his last carry, a 55-yard touchdown run that saw him erupt through the line and outrun everyone with 7:20 left in the game. That score made it 43-24 and essentially finished things off.
Carr finished with two grabs for 39 yards plus the 12-yard TD pass.
Wood was led by Coylar’s 113 passing yards, 71 receiving yards from Pitts and 91 rushing yards from Thompson. The Vikings face Roman Catholic next week still seeking their first win.
“It all starts from little things,” Devlin said. “The snap, the protection, the catch, everything, we have to get better at every aspect.”
St. Joe’s Prep 6 14 2 21 – 43
Archbishop Wood 7 10 0 7 – 24
AW – Jack Coylar 8 run (Dan Zanine kick) 7:21
SJP – Richard Carr 12 pass to Marquez McCray (kick blocked) 2:08
SJP – Christian Waller 25 run (2-point fail) 11:07
AW – Zanine 36 field goal 4:18
AW – Coylar 12 pass to Shawn Thompson (Zanine kick) 2:30
SJP – McCray 36 pass to Carr (McCray to Carr) 17.7
SJP – Safety 4:11
SJP – McCray 1 run (Anthony Tigano kick) 11:47
AW – Coylar 46 pass to Kyle Pitts (Zanine kick) 10:41
SJP – Terrance Greene 9 run (Tigano kick) 9:22
SJP – Waller 55 run (Tigano kick) 7:20
First Downs 17 10
Rushes-Yards 44-211 26-162
Passing 12-26-2-0 7-22-2-1
Passing Yards 144 113
Total Yards 355 275
Penalties-Yards 9-58 9-73
Fumbles-Lost 1-0 2-2
Punting 5-28.8 3-28.6
Rushing SJP – D’Andre Swift 1-6, Christian Waller 18-138, Marquez McCray 16-24, Khari Jones 8-34, Terrance Greene 1-9; AW – Shawn Thompson13-91, Raheem Blackshear 8-60, Jack Coylar 3-18, Nasir Peoples 2-(-7)
Passing: SJP – Marquez McCray 11-25-1-0-132, Richard Carr 1-1-1-0-12; AW- Coylar 7-22-2-1-113
Receiving: SJP – Greene 5-59, Darryle Simmons 2-17, McCray 1-12, Carr 2-39, Swift 2-17; AW- Kyle Pitts 4-71, Mark Webb 1-27, Blackshear 1-3, Thompson 1-12
Interceptions: SJP – CJ Duell