Philadelphia High School Football
This Is How You Break a Drought
After having won no Catholic League championships since 1978,
Wood won three consecutive Blue Division titles (under two coaches) from
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Archbishop Wood's Three Straight CL Blue Titles,
This story was written after the Vikings, in coach Art Barrett's final game, capped a perfect season by beating West Catholic, 17-14. It was their first title in 25 years.
Coach Art Barrett, who
several weeks ago announced his resignation, was doused with water
even before a kneel-down ended it.
Also, Barrett was a shade more fearful than Rose about trying to defend Brinkley on the Burrs' final possession. Brinkley's touchdown runs of 70 and 81 yards, both in the first half, had something to do with that. Brinkley finished with 19 carries for 213 yards. He concludes his career with 1,007 carries for 7,413 yards and 76 TDs. Overall, he collected 85 TDs and 522 points.
"It's scary," Barrett said. "As much as they have good receivers, I like it when they go back to pass. You feel better than when they hand it to Curtis. On any single play, he's dangerous. No matter the down and situation. "
Speaking of situations, Wood found itself in a sticky one during the last 3 weeks.
After the Vikings topped St. John Neumann in a semifinal on Nov. 21, Wood announced it was canceling its Thanksgiving game with nearby William Tennent. The administration, of course, had to pull the trigger on that, but Barrett acknowledged he'd provided the impetus.
Wood mostly took a whipping from the media, and even on radio talk shows. And there are those, as the years go on, who will look at the perfect record with disdain.
"The extracurricular stuff in the press didn't faze [the coaches] or the kids at all," Barrett said. "We lived with [the decision] and [the reaction] was unfortunate. The kids earned this undefeated season.
"I believed from the beginning that we did the right thing. The original contract [with Tennent] had an escape clause for playoff situations. I'm sure there would have been a lot more scrutiny from the press had we not been able to win this. "
Ultimately, the Vikings won with a blast from the past. During its glory era in the 1970s and '80s, Wood operated out of the wishbone offense. It has dusted it off a few times this season and did so again on the possession that broke the 14-14 tie.
With McCartney (22 carries, 134 yards) and Michael Kruzits (10-52) doing most of the running, Wood went from its 35 to the 18. On fourth-and-6, Tom Laurich hammered a 35-yard field goal with 4:22 remaining.
"We figured it was time," Barrett said of the wishbone. "West had a lot of kids going both ways. We figured we'd have them worn down between the tackles. "
In the first half - surprise, surprise - Wood effectively used the pass. Senior Dane Mangin went 6-for-9 for 85 yards and hit junior receiver James Harrigan with a 13-yard scoring pass. Mangin entered the night with 22 yards passing per game. Harrigan had six catches all season; he finished this night with three.
Each player laughingly acknowledged he sometimes wondered this season about his lot in Wood's football life.
"The coaches said we'd try to pass more this game," Harrigan said. "When the weather got bad this week, we went more with running in practice. But when we were needed, we did the job. So that was nice. "
Harrigan's score came on a slant just 2 seconds before halftime, creating a 14-14 tie, and he dragged several tacklers into the end zone. The previous two plays were unsuccessful fades.
"The defensive guy was 10 yards back, so that made the fade tough," Harrigan said. "The slant was a great call. I had to get in there. "
Said Mangin: "That play came in from the sideline. The coaches saw what was going on and made a great adjustment. "
With McCartney, who already has claimed Wood's season rushing record (1,417 yards), momentarily nursing a ding, Kruzits scored the other TD on a 10-yard run.
As the clock melted down to 0:00, Wood's rabid student rooters came tumbling over the fence in the home stands and stormed the field to celebrate. Nearly everyone hugged Barrett, who was the defensive coordinator for Wood's '78 squad and had been out of coaching for 18 seasons when he took command for '01.
His 3 years produced a finalist his first year and now a champion.
"Very satisfying," he said. "The seniors have worked very hard for all 3 years. They started working for this season on Jan. 4. To have this kind of ending, we're very deserving, and we're very proud." *
was written after the Vikings, under first-year coach Art Powel, won
their second consecutive Catholic Blue championship . . .
By Ted Silary
Below are the Wood players who earned
Daily News All-City or Coaches' All-Catholic honors
during the 2003, 2004 and 2005 seasons.
|WOOD'S HONOREES, DAILY NEWS ALL-CITY AND ALL-CATHOLIC|
|DN ALL-CTY||DN ALL-CITY||DN ALL-CITY|
|FIRST TEAM||FIRST TEAM||FIRST TEAM|
|Tom Laurich||P||Bill Gross||LB||Bryan McCartney||RB|
|Mike Kruzits||LB||SECOND TEAM||Mike Gallagher||DL|
|SECOND TEAM||Chris Hanson||QB||SECOND TEAM|
|John Haviland||L||John McFadden||DB||Chris Lorditch||Rec.|
|Pat Kane||DL||THIRD TEAM||THIRD TEAM|
|Chris Lorditch||Rec.||Pat McAfee||LB|
|BLUE ALL-CATHOLIC||BLUE ALL-CATHOLIC||BLUE ALL-CATHOLIC|
|FIRST TEAM||FIRST TEAM||FIRST TEAM|
|John Haviland||L||Christian Szablowski||C||Mike Gallagher||L|
|Tom Laurich||K||Chris Lorditch||WR||Brian Holly||L|
|Tom Laurich||P||Chris Hanson||QB||Chris Lorditch||DL|
|Mike Kruzits||ILB||Bryan McCartney||RB||Joe Kosich||QB|
|John McFadden||DB||Mike Gallagher||DL||Bryan McCartney||RB|
|SECOND TEAM||Bill Gross||ILB||Mike Gallagher||DL|
|Christian Szablowski||C||John McFadden||DB||Pat McAfee||ILB|
|Jason Devine||L||SECOND TEAM||Pat Devlin||DB|
|Mike Barainyak||TE||Mike Gallagher||L||SECOND TEAM|
|Dane Mangin||QB||Bryan Howard||E/OLB||Pat Devlin||WR|
|Bryan McCartney||RB||Chris Lorditch||K|
|Brian Devlin||E/OLB||Chris Lorditch||P|
|Bill Gross||ILB||Mike Clark||DL|
was written after the Vikings nailed down their third consecutive
Catholic Blue championship . . .
By Ted Silary
Mike Gallagher is not the only member of
his family who's a senior at Archbishop Wood High. He'll be the only
one accepting a ring or jacket for a football championship, however.
Below are the names of Wood's varsity players, 2003-05 . . .
To report misspellings - firstname.lastname@example.org
Playoff Games . . .