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Written by: Willie McGonigle on Wednesday, May 6th, 2020
One thing that keeps great programs great is continuity with its coaching staff. Since Steve Devlin took over has head coach of Archbishop Wood in 2007 all the Vikings have done is won. In total the Vikings won five state championships under Devlin. When Devlin stepped down after the 2017 season to move onto the college ranks his defensive coordinator Kyle Adkins took has head coach and in his second and last fall in his second and final season has head coach Adkins led the Vikings to their sixth state championship with a dramatic 19-15 come from behind victory over Cheltenham.
Matt Walp has been on the staff for all six of the state championships and now he will get to add to the storied history when he on Tuesday afternoon he was named has the next head coach of the Vikings.
Walp previously served coached DB,RB,and TE for the Vikings. Walp had previously coached at Neshaminy for a short time under Mark Schmidt and at Delaware Valley University under legendary coach Bill Manlove.
“I’ve truly been blessed to be on the staffs of Steve Devlin and then also Kyle Adkins.” Walp said adding “It was extremely important to me to continue that tradition that has been build here and to maintain and keep our staff intact, That was really the main focus of putting my hat in the ring.”
Walp also believes that it helps that continuity in the staff because the message will stay consistent. “I was able to learn a lot of things from Steve and Kyle, two different styles and two different smart minds.. so our players brought into the system.’’
Even throughout the whole process of the coaching change Walp and the rest of staff have been around the team preparing for the upcoming season under the watchful eye of Strength and Conditioning coach Joe Hallman who Walp considers the best in the state
This season also brings more change for the Vikings has they move up to 6A classification where they will battle fellow Catholic League Red Division Powers St Jospeh’s Prep and LaSalle to represent the league in district and state playoffs. “I believe we’re ready for the move” said Walp. “We’ve been playing at the highest level for a long time. Our philosophy has always been if we are not preparing the young men at the highest level, I always say to college coaches we have to prepare our young men to get a good education. Football comes second. When college coaches come in they always ask “what’s the grades followed by what’s the level of competition.”
It’s a different dynamic, but it’s a familiar dynamic for Wood Football. “We play St. Joes, La Salle academy every year. We’re used to it, we are going to prepare our guys and we are going to compete. The Vikings open the season on the road August 28 at Neshaminy.
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