Penn Hills advances to Class 5A State Championship; Knocks Off Two-Time Defending Champ

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For the first time in three years, there will be a new Class 5A PIAA football champion. That was made evident on Friday night at Chambersburg High School when WPIAL champion Penn Hills, defeated District 12 Champion, Arbishop Wood, 20-13 in the semifinals.

The win improved the Indians to 15-0, tying a school record that was set in 1995, the last time they advanced and won a state championship.

Known for their offense all season long, it was the defense that led Penn Hills over Archbishop Wood. The Indians held them to two first half field goals, and had the splash play of the first half in the first quarter.

Senior first-team Northern Conference running back Terry “Tank” Smith took the handoff and rushed 75-yards for the score. The Indians converted on the two point conversion with a pass from senior Hollis Mathis to senior Daequan Hardy.

With an 8-6 lead, Penn Hills opened the game up in the third quarter with another long touchdown run. This time, Hardy found paydirt from 62 yards out. The conversion failed, giving the Indians a 14-6 lead.

With a trip to the championship game on the line, the Indians pulled a trick out of their bag in the fourth quarter. Senior wide receiver Dante Cephas threw a 37-yard touchdown pass to senior Ric Martin for a 20-6 lead.

Archbishop Wood tacked on a touchdown but Penn Hills was able to hold on for the win and trip to Hershey.

The Indians will face District 3 champion, Manheim Central (15-0), on Friday at 7 p.m. at Hersheypark Stadium for the Class 5A championship.