By John Knebels
Special to The CS&T
In what has become a weekly tradition since the beginning of September, Archbishop Wood’s football team was victorious once again this past Friday night. The Vikings’ 13-7 win over Selinsgrove at Hersheypark Stadium increased their record to 12-2 and advanced them to tomorrow night’s PIAA Class AAA football championship in Hershey.
While players such as quarterback Sean McCartney (10 of 14 passing for 137 yards and one touchdown; 77 yards rushing, one touchdown), Vince Furlong (four catches, 67 yards), Anthony Narisi (three catches for 37 yards, one touchdown), Sean Cunningham (76 yards on 19 carries), Nick Devine (31 yards on six carries), Scott Adkins (interception) and a composite defense have helped the Vikings outscore their opponents 106-21 in three post-season games, there are people like Maureen Murt who remain in the background doing whatever is necessary to maintain consistent parental involvement.
Fundraisers. Parents’ Association meetings. Weekly pasta dinners. Cheering as loud as humanly possible as a surreal season continues to defy logic.
Talk to any high school athlete and he or she will tell you that anytime there are interested parents supporting the team, it means a whole lot. However, it is also one of the least recognized aspects of high school athletics.
Which brings us to Maureen Murt.
When she was Maureen Casey before marrying her husband Pat and giving birth to four sons ranging in age from 8 to 16, Murt graduated from Our Lady of Good Counsel School in Southampton and then Archbishop Wood in 1982. That’s where she met Pat, a product of St. John Bosco in Hatboro. More than a quarter of a century later, Murt laughs about how much her life has changed despite the venue remaining the same. A registered nurse who is close to obtaining her master’s degree, the former high school track runner has raised her family close to where she grew up and has watched each of her four sons attend Our Lady of Good Counsel.
Her son Kevin, a junior at Wood, is a member of the football team and was heading toward a successful season before he was dragged down awkwardly after a 52-yard run against Archbishop Ryan in the third game of the season. Later, X-rays revealed a broken collarbone, similar to the injury he had suffered as a member of the wrestling team as a freshman.
“We’re jumping up and down and suddenly realized that he is holding his arm kind of funny on the sideline,” said Murt. “We were so disappointed for him. He had committed himself to all of the workouts during the preseason and regular season. It was such a tough break.”
But Kevin Murt did not allow that to stop him from remaining part of the football team. He has missed only one practice this year and that was due to a virus.
“He does his best being a 12th man,” said Murt proudly. “He has been hoping to have a chance to play, but with only one week left, it’s not going to happen.”
So meanwhile, like hundreds of parents from other schools, Murt continues to support her son’s pride and joy in any way she can. She will be on one of the many buses being organized by the Wood administration that will take off at about 3 p.m. tomorrow and head to Hershey for a monumental event, win or lose.
Archbishop Wood will face Thomas Jefferson High School, located about 10 miles south of Pittsburgh, in the state championship.