PHILADELPHIA >> Archbishop Wood senior running back Shawn Thompson saw a little extra motivation in his classmates this week in practice.
After all, they were going to the same place where their season, and goal of repeating as state champions, ended last year in the District 12 title game at Northeast High School. Sure, the opponent was different, Simon Gratz this year opposed to Imhotep Charter last year, but the stakes were the same.
Wood had to win to keep its season going and the Vikings did that emphatically.
Behind a superb outing from quarterback Jack Colyar, Wood throttled Gratz 61-18 Saturday afternoon to win their ninth District 12 title, the first in the new 5A classification, in the last nine seasons. Colyar threw five touchdowns in his first seven passes while Thompson ran for 131 yards and caught two passes for 97 yards.
“We were motivated as a team,” Thompson said. “Especially the seniors, who had lost last year, we were all motivated to the fullest extent.”
Wood likes to balance between its ground game and passing game and also spread the ball. Saturday, the Vikings went to the air right off the bat and connected when Colyar hit senior Mark Webb on a post route for a 60-yard touchdown on the game’s first play.
Gratz doesn’t have the kind of talent Imhotep does, but the Bulldogs are still a gritty team with some very good athletes that wasn’t going to just roll over. They came right back down the field, springing a fake punt for a 62-yard pickup, and scored on an 11-yard keeper by quarterback Amir Gillis.
What the Bulldogs couldn’t do was slow down Wood.
“We do a good job spreading the ball around and don’t key on one guy,” Wood coach Steve Devlin said. “We fit into the system and go from there. Jack did a good job spreading the ball around and hitting the open guys.”
Colyar started the game 7-for-7 and finished 9-for-13 with five scores and 307 passing yards. Three of his scores, the second, third and fifth came on screen passes with Raheem Blackshear turning a short route into a 45-yard score right after Gratz’s touchdown.
Thompson followed that with a 48-yard screen pass TD on the next possession, Colyar then hit Blackshear over the top for a 71-yard score and finished his hot start with a 49-yard screen that Thompson turned into a touchdown with 52.6 left in the first quarter.
The first quarter took 48 minutes to play, with seven combined touchdowns and ended with Wood up 34-12.
“That’s probably my best game statistically,” Colyar said. “But it’s not all me. The offensive line played great, the receivers did a great job. These guys around me, they’re special and it’s a lot of fun.”
The passing game had done its job and in the second quarter, the Vikings turned to the ground game to keep hammering the lead. Thompson scored on a 27-yard run with 5:26 left in the first half, his third score of the game and a drive where he picked up 53 of the 64 yards himself on the ground.
An all-PCL running back, Thompson also broke two big runs that set up the next two scores, a 34-yarder that paved the way to a two-yard Blackshear run and a 24-yard push that let Nasir Peoples power in from nine out.
“Thanks to Jack connecting with Mark Webb and Raheem Blackshear and Jalen Reynolds, they all made great catches and that got me open,” Thompson said. “I’m thankful for my teammates.”
Qashah Carter was a bright spot for Gratz, throwing the pass on the 62-yard fake punt play, scoring the team’s second touchdown and returning the opening kick of the third quarter 91 yards for a score.
Wood’s starters spent the entire second half on the sidelines rallying their backups under a constantly running clock. The Vikings final score came on a five-yard run by Leroy Pendleton with 11:47 left in the game.
The Vikings will face Whitehall next week in the state quarterfinals at a time, date and place yet to be determined.
“We want to make the state championship,” Thompson said. “Everybody wants to do it, even the young guys who don’t play as much, they’re always out there for the scout team working very hard and not letting any effort go to waste.”
ARCHBISHOP WOOD 34 21 0 7 – 61
SIMON GRATZ 12 0 6 0 – 18
AW- Mark Webb 60 pass from Jack Colyar (Dan Zanine kick) 11:49
SG – Amir Gillis 11 run (kick fail) 8:41
AW – Raheem Blackshear 45 pass from Colyar (Zanine kick) 7:36
AW – Shawn Thompson 48 pass from Colyar (Zanine kick) 5:29
AW – Blackshear 71 pass from Colyar (Zanine kick) 1:59
SG – Qashah Carter 1 run (2-point fail) 1:08
AW – Thompson 49 pass from Colyar (kick miss) 52.6
AW – Thompson 27 run (Zanine kick) 5:26
AW – Blackshear 2 run (Zanine kick) 3:51
AW – Nasir Peoples 9 run (Zanine kick) 34.7
SG – Carter 91 kick return (2-point fail) 11:45
AW – Leory Pendleton 5 run (Kick miss) 11:47
1st Downs 16 8
Rushes-Yards 31-236 24-140
Passing 10-14-5-0 10-33-0-1
Passing Yards 315 172
Total Yards 551 312
Fumbles-Lost 2-1 1-1
Penalties-Yards 2-16 5-41
Punting 0-0 2-38.5
Rushing: AW – Shawn Thompson 7-131, Jack Colyar 2-(-8), Raheem Blackshear 4-21, Jalen Reynolds 1-1, Nasir Peoples 1-9, Leroy Pendleton 5-28, Eric Bauer 2-28, Chris Blackstone 9-26; SG – Troy Brown 6-52, Amir Gillis 6-10, Qashah Carter 11-68, David Butler 1-10
Passing: AW – Jack Colyar 9-13-5-0-307, Jake Ross 1-1-0-0-8; SG – Gillis 9-32-0-1-110, Carter 1-1-0-0-62
Receiving: AW – Mark Webb 3-74, Kyle Pitts 1-9, Blackshear 2-116, Thompson 2-97, Reynolds 1-11, Colin Murt 1-8; SG – Jevon Edwards 3-41, Tymir Robertson 1-62, Brown 1-(-3), Jordan Marlney 1-43, Carter 3-31, Tarrell Stewart 1-(-2)
Interceptions: AW – Tyler Smith