Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

A Hard Knock Archbishop Wood of Philadelphia Batters Gators for Crown Archbishop Wood 49, Gateway 13

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

A Hard Knock Archbishop Wood of Philadelphia Batters Gators for Crown Archbishop Wood 49, Gateway 13

Article excerpt

HERSHEY, Pa. - Two teams wearing black and gold met in the PIAA Class 5A final Friday night. One went home black and blue.

But hey, it was still a memorable season for the wounded Gators from Gateway.

Archbishop Wood brought the wood to Gateway and clobbered the Gators, 49-14, at Hersheypark Stadium. The win gave Wood its fourth PIAA title in five years and fifth since 2011.

Wood led, 42-0, at halftime and the blowout was yet another show of strength for the Philadelphia Catholic League, which includes Archbishop Wood and St. Joseph's. Saturday night, St. Joseph's plays Pine-Richland in the 6A title game. What does it say for Pine-Richland that St. Joseph's beat Wood, 27-7, earlier this season?

As for Gateway, it was a rough way to end a great season. The Gators, champions of the WPIAL, came into the game riding high, making the state playoffs for the first time since the PIAA started postseason games in 1988. The Gators finished with a 14-2 record.

"You never know how good the team is, but we didn't do a whole lot to make this a great game," Gateway coach Don Holl said. "You tip your cap to them for being a really difficult opponent to execute against.

"Unfortunately, tonight wasn't a great night. But it's been a wonderful ride and I couldn't thank these guys enough."

Gateway featured quarterback Brady Walker, the second-leading passer in WPIAL history who already had set a state record for passing yardage in one season with more than 4,000. A week ago, he threw for 465 yards, the second-highest total in a PIAA playoff game.

But Gateway couldn't deal with Wood's strength and quickness on defense or its powerful running game on offense. Walker only had 71 yards passing in the first half before finishing 12 of 26 for 257 yards to give him 8,800 for his career. He threw for 4,653 yards this season.

But Wood (12-2) sacked Walker three times in the first half and pressured him numerous other times. Sometimes, Wood got to Walker with only a three-man rush.

"They had everything," Walker said. "They were fundamentally sound. They were quick, fast, strong. They're a great team. …

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