PIAA Class 5A semifinal capsule: Penn Hills vs. Archbishop Wood
Penn Hills (14-0) vs. Archbishop Wood (9-3)
7 p.m. Friday at Chambersburg
Winner plays: Upper Dauphin (13-1)/Manheim Central (14-0)
Coaches: Jon LeDonne, Penn Hills; Kyle Adkins, Archbishop Wood
Passing: PH: Hollis Mathis 147-241-2570 yards, 37 TDs, 10 INTs; AW: Jake Ross 46-75-709 yards, 9 TDs
Rushing: PH: Terry “Tank” Smith 182-1506 yards, 21 TDs; AW: Tom Santiago 214-1661 yards, 16 TDs
Receiving: PH: Daequan Hardy 32-685 yards-17 TDs; AW: Jake Ross 9-207 yards, 3 TDs
How they got here: Penn Hills topped West Allegheny, 28-18, in the WPIAL final. Archbishop Wood defeated Hollidaysburg, 38-7, in the PIAA quarterfinals after rolling past Simon Gratz, 56-6, in the District 12 championship.
Extra points: After securing its first WPIAL championship since 1995, Penn Hills will attempt to do what the ’95 team did and advance to the PIAA championship. The Indians won a PIAA title in ’95 with a 35-14 win over Lower Dauphin. It is their lone appearance in a state title game. Penn Hills is the second-highest scoring team in WPIAL Class 5A at 38.9 points per game, and its defense allowed 10.2 points per game, which was the second lowest in the classification. Mathis and Smith were Howard commits, but both reopened their recruiting after a coaching change. Mathis passed for 210 yards and three touchdowns in the WPIAL championship, while Dante Cephas, a Kent State commit, caught three passes for 144 yards and a touchdown. … Archbishop Wood is seeking an eighth trip the state finals in nine years and an opportunity to win a third consecutive title. The Vikings have won five PIAA titles since 2008. Two of Archbishop Wood’s three losses came against teams from out of state, and the third loss was against PIAA Class 6A quarterfinalist St. Joseph’s Prep. A statistical quirk has made Ross the leading receiver and passer. Jack Colyar, the Vikings starting quarterback, was injured in Archbishop Wood’s opener and Ross moved from receiver to quarterback for six weeks. Colyar, a Duke baseball recruit, returned against Father Judge Oct 26 and has thrown for 392 yards and six touchdowns in five games.
Jerin Steele is a freelance writer.