Another PIAA title continues Archbishop Wood’s era of dominance under Devlin

HERSHEY — Some teams have the goal of winning a state championship at the beginning of each season for Archbishop Wood, it’s an expectation. The Vikings defeated Central Valley Friday night at Hersheypark Stadium 33-14 to win their second consecutive PIAA Class AAA championship and the third in four years.

“It’s kind of an expectation,’ Wood running back Jarrett McClenton said. “We kind of put it on ourselves though. We always want to get here and win it.’

The Vikings were absolutely dominant this year. Entering Friday’s championship game, the Vikings were averaging almost 50 points per game offensively and allowing just over 13. The Vikings achieve this by whipping teams at the line of scrimmage.

Ryan Bates anchored both the offensive and defensive lines for Wood and their excellence showed again. The offensive line composed of seniors Bates, Tom Cardozo, Ryan Neher and Shawn Scroger and junior Kurt Stengel help lead a rushing attack that went for 364 yards.

“Every week we come in with the mentality that we’re going to run it down their throats,’ said Bates, a Penn State commit. “We’re going to get low, we’re going to get a great surge off the line and, of course, I got the best fullback-halfback combo in the state, Jarrett McClenton and Alex Arcangeli.’

There is a lot of numbers that can be thrown around to demonstrate the dominance of Wood over the past several years—namely in the Steve Devlin era, beginning when Devlin toke over as Wood head coach in 2007. Three state titles in four years with three different quarterbacks, six straight Philadelphia Catholic League championships, six straight District 12 championships and 11 Division I recruits from 2011-2014.

“I think our program is a top notch program,’ Devlin said. “We put a lot of work into this. It’s tough to win back to back. You got a bull’s eye on your back each week. This is a great group of seniors.’

It’s not debatable who the best team in class AAA, but is Wood the best program in the entire state across any class? Devlin wouldn’t give a definitive answer, but Wood’s all-time leading rusher would.

“I sure hope this puts us up there at the top with everybody that’s been here, all the great teams that have been here, the CB Wests, Berwick all them,’ McClenton said.

Maybe the word dominance and the numbers don’t truly tell the story of this Wood team or this Wood program. Maybe it’s simply described with another “D’ word; dynasty.

“It’s great coaching,’ Bates said. “Our coaches are the best coaches if not the country than the state.’

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