Wood strives for perfection in rout of Carroll

WARMINSTER — Archbishop Wood has two opponents on the field Saturday afternoon.

There was the actual opponent, Archbishop Carroll, but the Vikings were also playing against themselves. As a heavy favorite, Wood had to make sure it continued to execute on every play at every position.

It wasn’t perfect, but Wood did a pretty good job as it rolled over Carroll, 43-0 at William Tennent High School.

“Every game is a different game, we have to improve on ourselves,’ Wood senior receiver/linebacker Justin Rubin said. “We have to get better every week.’

Wood is a team with aspirations of a game at Hersheypark Stadium while Carroll is trying to rebuild a program. The Patriots played hard, but the difference in talent is still quite apparent.

The Patriot coaching staff wanted its players to show their best, but they weren’t expecting any miracles.

“We didn’t give our team any false expectations,’ said Carroll coach Joe Powel, a former Wood head coach. “They’re in a different level. They’re competing for state titles and we’re trying to build our program. Our kids played hard, but we made a couple of mistakes and gave up some big plays.’

Carroll tried a little trickery to start the game, but its first drive ended in three plays with negative yardage. Wood only needed four plays, all runs, to put the first score up when fullback Alex Arcangeli rumbled in for 22 yards.

The second drive wasn’t much better for Carroll, and it gave the ball right back to Wood. This time using the air, Wood moved right down the field, scoring its second touchdown on a 40-yard pass from Anthony Russo to Mark Webb.

“We tell the kids all the time that we just want to get better,’ Wood coach Steve Devlin said. “We just have to execute and play well on both sides of the ball and win all three phases of the game.’

Things seemed to snowball for Carroll on its third drive. The Patriots had another three-and-out, and were still in the minus regarding their total yardage. But the biggest blow came on a shanked punt that traveled just six yards and gave Wood the ball on the Patriot 24.

Russo couldn’t find the mark on first down, but tailback Jarrett McClenton didn’t have a problem on second, slicing his way free for a 24-yard touchdown sprint. Wood was already up 21-0 and the first quarter still had 1:12 to go.

“This year we’ve got a lot of versatility,’ Rubin said. “It’s not just about the running game. Russo had a great game last week and another great game today. We’re starting to pass the ball a lot and it’s starting to open up options for everyone.’

Wood went pass, run, pass, run, pass on the first drive of the second quarter, ending with a 36-yard touchdown pass to Rubin. Rubin showed some flash on the catch-and-run, using a swim move to elude one defender and shaking past a second before running in for the score.

Carroll’s rough afternoon got worse on its next possession. Again unable to move the ball, the Patriots set up for a punt, but a high snap at the 29 sent the ball careening into the end zone, where punter Max Frederick dove on it to concede a safety, but save the touchdown.

Wood’s pressure, which had been heavy all day, finally got a big break.

“We take pride in our defense,’ Rubin said. “We’re a real physical team but we still have improvements to make.’

Wood only needed one play to get that touchdown. McClenton ripped off a 56-yard run, going off the right end and into daylight to make it 37-0 with 6:51 remaining in the first half.

“We told them, don’t look at the scoreboard, don’t look at anything and just play each play,’ Powel said. “It’s an opportunity to play against the best. We’re excited for Wood that they’re going to represent the Catholic League in the state playoffs.’

With a running clock the entire length of the second half, Wood went to its backups, but they continued to move the ball.

The final score was again the result of a broken play by Carroll. A second high snap on a punt left Frederick scrambling, but the punter was able to fire off a solid pass, only for it to land out of bounds.

Wood took over at the Patriot 39 as backs Allan Brown and Adrian Lambert combined to cover that distance. Brown got the decisive carry, a 4-yard drive into the end zone.

The Vikings are off until the PCL Class AAA semifinals Nov. 7, but that doesn’t mean they’ll be resting on their laurels. They fumbled three times, losing one and Rubin said he was looking for areas to improve.

“We’ve got a lot of work to do,’ Devlin said. “We’ll have a good week of practice. We have a bye week before our next game. We did what we had to.’


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