Archbishop Wood Football - PSD Photo
Archbishop Ryan Football - PSD Photo
CATHOLIC LEAGUE GAME OF THE WEEK
Who: Archbishop Wood vs. Archbishop Ryan
When: 3:30 PM Saturday, October 6
Where: George Washington High School
Records: Archbishop Wood 3-2, 1-0; Archbishop Ryan 6-0, 1-0
Most Recent Performance: Archbishop Wood blanked Roman Catholic, 42-0; Archbishop Ryan defeated neighborhood rival Father Judge, 38-20.
Importance: Important? More like immense. Both of these Catholic League Red Division powerhouses compete in Class 5 A. To have any chance of capturing the division crown, nothing less than a victory is necessary. Last year, Wood defeated Ryan twice – 42-6 during the regular season and 48-0 in the postseason. Ryan players seek revenge and will attempt to beat Wood for the first time since 2013.
All-Time Record: Archbishop Ryan leads, 28-23.
Archbishop Wood Notes: After dealing with a ton of newness that included a new coach, Kyle Adkins, and a huge loss to graduation to the tune of seven Division I college players, the Vikings have won three straight and they have done so with defense, allowing seven points over the last eight quarters . . . Senior Connor Bishop, an Army commit, is a two-way lineman who can make the difference on both sides of the ball . . . Seniors Kevin Otto, his brother Brad Otto, and Joe Wade are steady in the secondary . . . Taking over for injured senior quarterback Jack Colyar, senior Jake Ross has been steady, with 30 completions in 47 attempts for 445 yards and five scores . . . Junior Tom Santiago’s 480 yards and five touchdowns on 76 rushes pace the backfield . . . Wood’s next two games are against St. Joseph’s Prep and LaSalle.
Archbishop Ryan Notes: Coach Frank McArdle’s Raiders have run roughshod on each of their six opponents, scoring 38, 41, 41, 45, 45, and 38 points, respectively. Sophomore Tyreek Chappell is a star in the making regardless of where he lines up, whether it be running (426 yards, five touchdowns, and an eye-popping average of 13 yards per carry), receiving (16 receptions for 437 yards and eight scores), or in the secondary (interception). Heck, he even returned a kickoff for a touchdown . . . Senior quarterback Jahlil Sanders has thrown for 780 yards and 14 touchdowns while rushing for 416 and four scores . . . Junior Julian Jones has chipped in with 324 yards and seven rushing touchdowns; senior Kyron Long has added 14 catches for 212 yards and four touchdowns . . . On defense, the secondary has intercepted seven passes, three by senior linebacker Colin Boyd, two by junior Justin Collier, one by sophomore Markell Gary, and another by Chappell. Long returned a fumble for a touchdown . . . Senior kicker Gavin Dionisio has nailed four field goals and 32 extra points.
RAIDER CHAT: “This game is important,” said senior quarterback Jahlil Sanders. “First off, to get a feel for Archbishop Wood this year, as well as a statement game to make sure it’s known that Ryan will be a team to worry about this year.”
“Wood has been our biggest competition for as long as I can remember,” said senior wide receiver and defensive back Kyron Long. “This game is like a preview for the championship.”
“This game is definitely important because we know we will most likely see them again later on in the season, and we definitely want to set the tone, win or lose,” said senior linebacker Colin Boyd. “Let them know we're coming different this season.”
“Yea this is a tough game, Wood is a good team but we also are a good team,” said junior running back Julian Jones. “Everyone has to be locked in and focused for this one. We are looking for revenge for the past couple years and to show everyone we can be just as good as them if not better.”
VIKING CHAT: “We know Ryan is the only team in our way to us achieving our goals,” said senior tight end and defensive lineman Billy Cook. “We know we need to come out compete and set a tone.”
“I think this game is so important because it sets the tone for the rest of our Catholic League play, but more importantly for when we play Ryan again in the 5A championship,” said senior two-way tackle Connor Bishop. “We are aware we need to go through Ryan again in five weeks and we want to send a message that Wood is still a powerhouse and our streak of winning the 5A championship will continue through this year. We know Ryan is 6-0 and has likely had this game marked on their calendars since last year, and we’re excited for a physical and exciting game.”
“This game is so important because they are the team that will be standing in our way of reaching the state playoffs,” said senior quarterback Jack Colyar. “We know how big this game is for us. They are going to give us their best game, so we need to be ready.”
“It’s important because it’s a league game,” said senior offensive lineman and linebacker Brett Gross. “In order to win the PCL, we need to win this game. We will also play them again in a few weeks in the playoffs and this game will definitely help with morale for the next one. This game is important for proving ourselves.”
Prediction: Archbishop Ryan has been unstoppable through six dominant performances; Archbishop Wood has righted itself after an understandably tough start. Wood usually wins this game via blowout, but that simply won’t happen. The Raiders are extremely hungry to prove the doubters wrong and are determined to be taken seriously. The Raiders’ offense hasn’t faced a defense this tough, but then again, Wood hasn’t seen an offense this powerful. This game will go down to the wire, and in the end, Archbishop Ryan’s undefeated rank will remain intact after a 24-17 victory.
(John Knebels can be reached at Jknebels@gmail.com or on Twitter @johnknebels.)