When Running Back Desmond Peoples was injured for Archbishop Wood, another Peoples had to step in at the position.
Enter Cousin Brandon Peoples.
After 130 yard effort two weeks ago against Dobbins Tech in the District 12 Championship Game, Peoples torched Strath Haven for 222 yards on 34 carries and two touchdowns in a 24-14 victory over the Panthers in the PIAA AAA Eastern Semi-Final at Coatesville’s Multi-Purpose Stadium Friday Night.
Peoples opened the scoring with 7:25 to play in the first quarter as he scored on a one yard run that capped a 59 yard 10 play drive. Peoples had a run of 33 yards in the drive and Wood converted both a third down and a fourth down play in the drive. Nick Visco added the extra point as Wood took a 7-0 lead. Visco would add a 26 yard field goal with 23 seconds to play in the first quarter as Wood took a 10-0 lead.
Strath Haven’s Brent Collins then returned the kickoff 65 yards to the Viking 23 yard line. Thurman Fortune (21 carries 93 yards) needed just two plays from there as he scampered 21 yards on the first play of the second quarter to cut the Viking lead to 10-7.
Wood then increased the lead 17-7 when quarterback Joe Monaghan sneaked in from the one yard line on Wood’s next possession.
The second story of the night was the Wood defense.
Wood held the vaunted Strath Haven Wing-T running attack to 138 yards rushing and 253 total yards for the game. Every time Thurman tried to get going, there was always a Wood defender there to greet him.
On their first possession of the third quarter, Wood seemed poised to score another touchdown and put the game away. But the Panthers showed a little defense of their own and stopped Peoples on third down and was stopped on fourth down from inside the one yard line as he was met head on by Chaz Fisher.
Strath Haven, the Central League and District One champions took the ball on the half-yard line and drove it 99 yards as Collins went in from the five with 6:15 left in the third quarter. The big play in the drive was an 87 yard shovel pass from James Griffin to Alex Hisey that set the Panthers up first and goal on the Viking five yard line. Collins then needed just one play to once again cut the lead to three points, this time 17-14. Hisey kicked both extra points and also had a nice one-handed interception for the Panthers, who finish their season at 12-2.
Win the win Wood, who remained undefeated at 13-0 now faces District 11 Champion 14-0 Allentown Central Catholic, a 55-20 winner over District Nine champion Clearfield next week in a “Battle of the Vikings” for a berth in the PIAA Class AAA Football Championship game on the 17th of December.