By John Knebels
Sports Columnist

Just 4:06 into the game, junior Mike Frendak plowed through the line and blocked a punt that deflected into the end zone.

Archbishop Wood led, 2-0. Too bad for Dobbins Tech that the game couldn’t end right there.

By the time Saturday’s “contest” was over, Wood had emerged with a convincing 44-7 victory in the PIAA Class AAA District 12 championship also dubbed – as are all D12 meetings – the “city title.” This marked the third consecutive district title for Wood, all of them in blowout style to the composite total of 142-20. {{more}}

“We were definitely read to play,” said junior Brandon Peoples, who, subbing for his injured standout cousin Desmon Peoples, amassed 124 yards and three touchdowns on 14 carries. “They’re the best kind of games, when everyone contributes.”

For Wood this year, that’s basically been every game. The Vikings are now 12-0 and in pursuit of a state championship. If they can be anywhere near as productive as they were against Dobbins, they should be in great shape.

While Peoples moved from fullback to tailback to carry the running game, junior quarterback Joey Monaghan threw touchdown passes to Sam McCain (five receptions for 110 yards) and Andrew Guckin, who also added a three-yard touchdown run.

And when sophomore Anthony Roakes rumbled 61 yards for a touchdown on a punt return, there was no doubt that the Vikings basically could have scored at will. They also probably could have etched a shutout, but Dobbins took advantage of Wood’s mass substitution on defense to tally its lone score.

Next up is a state quarterfinal meeting against a not-as-yet-determined opponent.

Also heading to state play is La Salle, which on Saturday against Northeast High School played a methodical, in-your-face strategy to perfection.

It really came down to the Explorers’ ability to score in the red zone, something that coaches talk about all the time. If you get inside the 20, think touchdown instead of field goal. If you get inside the 10, anything less than seven points is a disappointment.

If that is the case, the Explorers were all smiles thanks to a 35-0 victory in the PIAA Class AAAA District 12 championship at Northeast.

La Salle (11-1) dominated every phase of the game. Kevin Forster opened the scoring with an 11-yard run that followed a 34-yard punt return by senior Jamal Abdur-Rahman. Junior fullback Tim Wade added another score from three yards out that was set up by senior Connor Reilly’s blocked punt.

By halftime, the Explorers (11-1) increased their margin to 21-0 on a two-yard plunge by Abdur-Rahman. The lead later swelled to 28-0 on a three-yard scamper by Forster that followed his 30-yard punt return. And finally, the Explorers stopped scoring after a seven-yard jaunt by Abdur-Rahman – his 25th touchdown of the season.

The Explorers’ defense and special teams were all over the field. If there was any concern about Northeast’s tough defense being a factor, it was negated by the guys making tackles in the trenches and open field.

Then there was West Catholic, which captured the Class AA title by defeating Bok 34-6. The game was not nearly as lopsided as suggested. The game was tied 6-6 at halftime, but the Burrs woke up behind their feared running game.

While Brandon Hollomon gained 162 yards and scored a touchdown on 15 carries, sophomore understudy David Williams carried only eight times but scored three touchdowns while accumulating 53 yards.

West’s defense did the rest, and has now allowed a paltry 20 points in the Burrs’ last three games.

John Knebels can be reached at