As it appeared in today’s Daily Times.
Points For-Against: Interboro 359-210, Archbishop Wood 451-180
How Interboro got here: Winners of three in a row, the Bucs’ only losses were Episcopal Academy (10-0) and Academy Park (10-2). Interboro defeated Phoenixville and Academy Park in the first two rounds of the District One Class AAA tournament before earning a 14-12 win over West Chester Henderson to claim the program’s first district championship.
How Archbishop Wood got here: Considered the preseason favorite to repeat as PIAA Class AAA champ, Archbishop Wood is ridiing a five-game winning streak. Its only losses came to traditional state powers North Penn (24-10 Sept. 8) and St. Joseph’s Prep (23-10 Oct. 5). The Vikings captured their fifth consecutive Philadelphia Catholic League championship when they disposed of Bonner-Prendergast, 38-16, Nov. 10. The Vikings carried the momentum into their District 12 championship game against Bok Vo-Tech and cruised to a 49-28 victory two weeks ago. They are coming off a bye week.
Scouting Report (Interboro): The Bucs continue to survive despite struggling to take care of the ball on offense. They’ve committed eight turnovers over the last two games, but their defense has stood tall. The Bucs are allowing only 162.5 yards per game over the last two weeks. Led by linemen Eric Owens and John Bellano, and linebackers Rashon Fentress, Alex McCloskey and Sonny Armstrong, Interboro’s defensive unit will need another A-plus performance against Archbishop Wood, which will be the Bucs’ toughest opponent to date. On offense, Interboro has relied on a mixture of pass and run. Wide receiver Mark Everton, who had four catches for 56 yards last week, including a touchdown grab, and tight end Fentress are the Bucs’ top playmakers in the passing game. Chris Simmons is also a threat. Fullback Sonny Armstrong and running backs Warren Allen and Austin Quiah give Interboro good balance in its ground game.
Scouting Report (Archbishop Wood): The Vikings aren’t the juggernaut that dominated in 2011, when they won the PIAA Class AAA title while hardly breaking a sweat. But make no mistake, Wood is still one of the top football programs in the area and is the heavy favorite in this game. Josh Messina, a junior running back/linebacker, had double-digit tackles, a forced fumble, an interception and a touchdown run in the Vikings’ victory over Bok. And he’s not even the player Interboro should be most concerned about. That player is senior running back Andrew Guckin, a monster athlete with devastating speed, quickness and power. The 5-11, 200-pounder has rushed for 1,542 yards and 24 touchdowns. Senior Nick Arcidiacono is a phenomenal linebacker and blocking tight end. Wood’s quarterback, freshman Tom Garlick, doesn’t factor into the Vikings offense all that much, but can make the big throws when called upon. Wood has allowed a respectable 15 points per game, but over its previous three contests, is yielding an average of 26.3.
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