By Todd Orodenker
Special to The CS&T
Jerry Rahill didn’t really know how to explain it.
“(The play) just broke down,” he said in between stutters, pauses and I-can’t-believe-that-just-happened glances. “They covered it well, so I don’t know.”
But the senior quarterback didn’t really need to say much. His play did all the talking.
Rahill led Archbishop Wood on a nine-play 62-yard drive and scored the winning touchdown in the waning minutes to give the Vikings a 30-28 victory over Pottsgrove in last Friday’s PIAA Class AAA state quarterfinals at Northeast High School.
Wood will now play Selinsgrove in the semifinals Friday at 7 p.m. at Hersheypark Stadium in Hershey, Pa.
The winning play, which came on second-down and goal on the nine-yard line, didn’t go as scripted. But Rahill improvised, avoided a handful of Falcons rushers and scampered his way into the end zone.
Rahill rushed 14 times for 94 yards and threw for 245 yards in the contest.
“He made some great plays and actually caught some things at the line to keep us out of (trouble),” Wood coach Steve Devlin said of Rahill. “I give him the freedom for that…he’s a great kid.”
After the touchdown, Wood forced Pottsgrove to turn the ball over on downs. One kneel down later, and the Vikings were off to the semifinals for the second straight season.
“It’s a great win, a great comeback for us,” Devlin said. “We got down there with three minutes, put a drive together, and it shows the character of these kids.”
The win was Wood’s 11th in a row, as they’ve fully rebounded from an 0-2 start to the season.
“I don’t know how to describe it, it’s just working out there,” Rahill said. “We’re playing our best football right now, so this is the time to do it.”
It’s a little different story than last season, when things just seemed to come easy for Wood.
“Last year our season was a lot easier, we just kind of blew teams out,” Rahill said. “This year there’s been a lot more close games, and being a senior it’s been a different kind of a feeling.”
Things appeared to be following the 2008 route on the first play of the game when Scott Adkins returned the opening kickoff 82 yards for a touchdown.
The senior running back let the ball bounce, momentarily bobbled it, then regained possession and went untouched for the score.
“I didn’t panic,” Adkins said. “There was just a big hole there and I just ran through it.”
That set the tone for the game, and once again put Wood achingly close to a state title. The Vikings fell in last year’s AAA final.
“I want to win it this time,” Adkins said.
Still, the Vikings are aware of how far they’ve come this season – no matter what happens Friday.
“Last time I looked there are four [AAA]teams left in the state, and we’re one of them,” Devlin said.
And that kind of confidence is evident for a team that’s simply found ways to win all season.
“We’re that little school from Warminster,” Devlin said. “We’re going to play who ever matches up with us.”
Todd Orodenker can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.