BEAR – For 48 minutes Saturday night, the Archmere football team forgot it was the last team to sneak into the Division II playoffs. The Auks stormed to a 19-0 halftime lead against top-seeded St. George’s Tech, then held on to defeat the Hawks, 19-13, at Caravel Academy. The win lifted Archmere to 8-3 for the season and into a semifinal matchup next weekend at Hodgson Vo-Tech.
Archmere used a strong ground game led by Ryan Beatson and Francis McVey and the accurate arm of quarterback Brian Rogers to pull the upset. Many of the runs were misdirections and traps designed to keep the St. George’s defense guessing. On defense, the Auks were able to shut down the explosive rushing game of St. George’s for much of the night and come up with key stops when they were needed.
Touchdown runs of 25 yards by Connor Speidel and one yard by McVey sandwiched a 21-yard scoring strike from Rogers to Conor Furey – who normally plays tackle – in a first half that saw Archmere jump to a 19-0 lead. (The Auks missed a point after touchdown and a two-point conversion).
Archmere coach Jerry Ambrogi said moving Furey to tight end was designed to create matchup problems for St. George’s (10-1).
“We thought we could create a bit of a mismatch because their corners are a little bit smaller than he was. They did a good job on him most of the other time,” he said.
St. George’s stormed back in the second half, scoring on a 37-yard run by Tymiere Griffin and a 14-yard scamper up the middle by Vaughn Simmons-Williams. The Hawks’ last drive, which began with 5:23 left in the game, ended when quarterback Zachary Wright fumbled at his own 34, and the Auks were able to run out the final 3:10.
Ambrogi expected the second-half surge by the Hawks. “You don’t go 10-0 and have that kind of success and not expect them to come back.”
Archmere travels to Hodgson next week. The teams did not play each other this season, but Ambrogi expects another challenge from the skilled Silver Eagles.
“There, you have athletes all over the place, and they are going to try and spread us out in different formations and allow their speed and athleticism space. We’re going to try and figure out a way to confine that space. If they get out in that space, we’ll have a long day. They’ve got so many weapons,” he said.
The other Division II semifinal pits No. 4 Indian River (9-2), the defending state champion, at Caravel (11-0).
In the Division I semifinals, top-ranked Middletown (10-0) hosts No. 4 Caesar Rodney on Friday night, and it’s a rematch of a game the Nov. 9 battle between No. 3 St. Mark’s and No. 2 Salesianum next Saturday. Both games begin at 7:30 p.m.