Blackshear, Thompson lead ground game, Archbishop Wood routs West Catholic

PHILADELPHIA >> There will not be too many times this season quarterback Anthony Russo will not play a stellar game for Archbishop Wood this season.

Thursday night. Russo overcame two first-half interceptions to guide the Vikings to a easy 48-6 win over West Catholic Thursday night in a Philadelphia Catholic League non-division contest at Northeast High School.

Thankfully for Russo and the rest of the Wood team, he has a tough running game and a dominant defense to protect him. While it might have been easy to predict Wood would have a good defense this season, its running game probably comes a little bit more of a surprise.

After losing four of its five starting offensive linemen from a year ago, along with the program’s all-time leading rusher, Jarrett McClenton, now at Villanova, and a talented fullback in Alex Arcangeli with his talents now at Bloomsburg University, figuring on a potent run game from the Vikings wasn’t as easy to see coming.

“Coming off of a sloppy start, being able to have the run take over and take a little weight off my shoulders is something that helps me a lot as a quarterback,” said Russo, a Rutgers commit, who finished the night 10-for-15 passing for 154 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions.

Wood coach Steve Devlin is committed to a run-first and run-heavy system and this year he has got the running game back on track despite all the new pieces. Thursday night was just the latest example, as tailback Raheem Blackshear rushed for 23 yards on eight carries and a touchdown and fullback Shawn Thompson chipped in with 88 yards on seven carries and a touchdown.

“They’re two great players,” said Russo of Thompson and Blackshear. “Just like the rest of our team they have room for improvement but I think they both see holes great and run hard.”

Blackshear also contributed four catches for 45 yards and a touchdown through the air.

“The passing (touchdown) happened because he was playing up close on me,” Blackshear said. “The running [touchdown] our line was just knocking them down it was wide open.”

Wood finds it’s self at 4-0 entering Philadelphia Catholic League Class AAA Division play with a 203-65 scoring differential and a 34.5 point average margin of victory. These statistics are nothing new to the Vikings and mean nearly nothing as well.

“We start our league games next week, we’re 0-0 in the league and that’s the way we got to look at it,” Devlin said. “We got to get better next week, we got a good (Archbishop) Ryan team.”

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