It didn't take long for Archbishop Wood to seize control against Great Valley.
The quick and powerful Vikings put the outmanned and smaller Patriots in a 23-point hole in the first six minutes of a PIAA Class AAA state quarterfinal Friday night at Northeast. Wood cruised from there, as many had expected, in a 44-7 rout.
That marked the end to a breakout, highly memorable season for first-year Great Valley coach Dan Ellis and his players.
The Patriots finished with a school-record 12 victories, placed second in the Ches-Mont League American Division, and captured the program's first District 1 championship.
"We accomplished a lot," said Ryan Buchholz, a 6-foot-5, 235-pound senior defensive end for the Patriots. "It's something for all of us to be proud of. There's no reason to hang our heads."
This is Ellis' third coaching stop, after three-year stints at both Springfield (Delco) and West Chester East. It didn't take long for him to make an impact at the Malvern school.
"You can't take away what these kids did," said Ellis, a star quarterback at the old Downingtown High and Virginia. "I'm forever grateful this is the first group of kids I coached at Great Valley."
In the first half, Jarrett McClenton, Wood's fleet tailback, carried the ball 12 times for 110 yards and two touchdowns. He also found the end zone on a 51-yard punt return and a 35-yard catch-and-run on a shovel pass.
The Vikings (12-1) also feature a bruising fullback in Alex Arcangeli. The Bensalem transfer rushed nine times for 90 yards, including a third-quarter TD.
"They're so big and strong up front, and they really fire off the ball well," Buchholz said. "They just make things happen."
Buchholz, who doubles at tight end, was pitted against Wood two-way lineman and fellow Penn State recruit Ryan Bates. The two are likely to be roommates in State College.
"We're real good friends," Buchholz said. "I thought it was going to be kind of weird playing him, but it was fine once the game started."
The Patriots (12-2) coughed the ball up twice in the first quarter.
"We committed more mistakes in the first six minutes than we did in the last six weeks," Ellis said.
The Vikings defensive line, sparked by end Mack Schwartz, consistently pressured senior Zack Ludwig. He was sacked four times.
One of the few highlights for Great Valley, which was missing running back River Johnson because of a knee injury, was Jake Hubley's 57-yard TD return of a fumble late in the first half.
Nasir Adderley, a senior all-purpose player for the Pats, was kept quiet Friday, but he played a key role in the squad's drive to the state quarterfinals. He posted 18 touchdowns, including five on kick returns.