PHILADELPHIA — Not many teams can compete in the PIAA Class AAA Quarterfinals missing two players that have been named all-league defenders as juniors and seniors.But the Archbishop Wood football team did not just give Great Valley a game, they ran away with a 44-7 win over the District One AAA champs.
Sidelined at Northeast High for the game against the Patriots on Friday night were Devon Cobb and Penn State commit Jake Cooper. Head coach Steve Devlin and defensive coordinator Mike Carey did some shuffling and covered up the holes the absence of Cobb and Cooper created,
“Coach Carey had a great game plan,’ Vikings coach Steve Devlin said. “We are taking it one game at a time. We are looking forward to next week.’
The Vikings had five sacks in the win and held the Patriots offense, a team averaging 25 points per game, to seven points. And those seven points came from their defense. The offense was held to 98 total yards and quarterback Zach Ludwig completed only 23 percent of his passes.
“That’s what coaching is,’ Devlin said. “You have to get a game plan and go with it. Great Valley had a lot of good guys on their team. We had pressure on them constantly.’
Of the five sacks, two came from junior Mack Schwartz. Typically a defensive end for the Vikings, the 6-3, 215 pounder stood up and moved back to an outside linebacker position with Cooper and Cobb out of the lineup. His assignment for the night was to harass Ludwig and he did just that. Schwartz also had a fumble recovery and an interception in the win.
“We did a lot of blitzing and they just let me loose,’ Schwartz said. “At defensive end I pass rush a lot, so it was my world. There was a little more dropping in coverage, but the switch felt natural.’
If anything the Vikings displayed their depth at Charles Martin Memorial Stadium. They did not skip a beat without Cobb and Cooper, who are considered day-to-day, but both are supposed to return next week against Somerset. Cooper was even in uniform if needed to go against Great Valley, but all of the starters were sidelined by the time second half started.
“It feels good to get in that backfield and cause chaos like no other,’ Schwartz said. “That was all they were preaching to us. Just get there. There are a lot variables for next week with guys out, so we will see what happens with Coop and Cobb probably coming back.’
Coach Carey isolated the Patriots play-makers as Nasir Adderley, who had 23 total touchdowns on the season always had safeties rolling his way. And for the Patriots own Penn State recruit, lineman Ryan Buchholz, he went toe-to-toe with the Vikings future Nittany Lion, lineman Ryan Bates. The future teammates took turns throwing each other around, but in the end Buchholz could not bring down the defending PIAA champions by his lonesome.
“Our defensive backs did a great job covering and bought us time to get to the quarterback,’ Schwartz said. “Christian Lohin made the calls and did a great job keeping us in order. Sebastian Silva made quick reads and Nafeese Brown-Carter was great. A lot of people stepped up tonight.’
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