‘We have a lot of heart’

I spent yesterday morning at the Catholic Information Center for Leonine Forum’s Advent Recollection with Fr. Charles Trulloles. As that concluded, a friend of nearly 20 years stopped in and we caught up nearby at Daily Grill.

We went to Archbishop Wood together in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, and we talked briefly about our alma mater’s latest state championship:

Trailing by three points in the PIAA Class 5A state title game with eight seconds to play and the ball on Cheltenham’s 3-yard line, Archbishop Wood second-year coach Kyle Adkins didn’t hesitate.

“We try a pass and if it’s not there we throw it out of the end zone and kick the field goal and go to overtime,” Adkins said. “We knew we could execute the play and it worked out for us.” …

Junior quarterback Max Keller found junior running back Cardel Pigford in the middle of the end zone for the winning score to give the Vikings a 19-15 win over neighboring Cheltenham in a wildly exciting state final at Hersheypark Stadium.

“We called the slant to Cardel and I knew he would catch it,” Keller said. “He and I have been playing football together since ninth grade and I knew he would be in the right spot.

“We only sent one guy out — everybody else was blocking — and I saw him come open and he made the catch. It was just an unbelievable way to end the game and win the state championship.” …

The state title was the Vikings’ third in the last four seasons and sixth since joining the PIAA in 2008.

“We don’t have the talent that a lot of the past state championship teams had, but we have a lot of heart,” Wood junior running back Kaelin Costello said. “There is no quit in anybody on this team and we knew what we had to do at the end of the game.”

What the Vikings (11-3) had to do was score because the Panthers, winners of 12 straight coming in, had taken their first lead of the game at 15-12 with four minutes left in regulation.

Archbishop Wood, which had two timeouts remaining, started from its own 35 after the ensuing kickoff and did what it had done all night — give the ball to Costello.

And he delivered.

Archbishop Wood was not a football powerhouse when we were there. It’s been great to watch the development of the program over the past 10-15 years.