CLAYMONT – Archmere football coach Jerry Ambrogi saw that St. Elizabeth would take away the outside running game, so he turned to the middle. And the Vikings, missing injured linebacker Eric Patton, could not stop the ground assault as Archmere ran to a 49-7 win Saturday morning.
Auks quarterback David McCrae ran for two touchdowns and threw for three more as Archmere improved to 9-1and guaranteed itself a Division II playoff berth. The win was a measure of revenge for Archmere, which lost, 35-0, to St. Elizabeth in last year’s Division II final.
The Auks are the fourth seed in the Division II tournament and open Saturday morning at home against Howard, the fifth seed. The game starts at 10:30.
“They were trying to take away our outside game and were pretty effective in doing that,” Ambrogi said. “I kind of saw them cheating up and a couple of times we were able to throw it behind them on some of our play actions. We caught them with their aggressiveness a couple of times. We didn’t throw the ball that much. We threw the ball five times and had four completions.”
McCrae was hoping the win was enough to give his team a home game next weekend and is looking for an extended run like last year.
“Hopefully we can have a repeat of last year except come out on top,” he said.
St. Elizabeth dropped to 6-3 and will not get an opportunity to defend the title it won last season.
“They played a great game. They did a great job, great job. They came ready to play, and we didn’t,” Vikings coach Joe Hemphill said.
An explosive start by the Auks and two first-quarter fumbles set the tone for the game. McCrae scored twice on keepers in the opening stanza, the first for 17 yards and the second for 31. He also hit Bryan Garrahan with a 10-yard strike as the Auks shot out to a 21-7 lead.
The Vikings struggled to get anything started on the offensive side without star running back Patton, who aggravated an ankle injury last week in a win against St. Mark’s in which the Spartans were powerless to stop him. Ambrogi said he’d take the win, although it was a different game without Patton.
“I would have liked to have seen Eric play. I’ve enjoyed watching him so much over the last four years. I would have like to have seen what the game would have been. We’re two pretty evenly matched teams, and without their difference-maker, we were able to come out on top,” he said.
St. Elizabeth instead turned to Eric’s brother Andre in an attempt to jump-start its offense. Andre Patton scored the Vikings’ lone points on a 49-yard touchdown reception late in the first quarter. Hemphill also moved Andre Patton to quarterback several times during the game, trying to take advantage of his speed to move the ball. The Auks were able to key on Patton, who was rendered largely ineffective.
“I can’t say enough about our defense,” Ambrogi said. “Trying to stop No. 8, Andre Patton, is almost an impossible task. He’s bigger and faster than anybody we have on our team, and the kids really played hard. Now, when you don’t have to worry about Eric, you can double-team Andre. In games where you’ve double-teamed Andre, Eric’s made them pay.”
Archmere put the game away in the second quarter as McCrae hit Jesse Dewees for two touchdowns before halftime, a 60-yarder halfway through and a 25-yard strike with 59 seconds left.
The Auks completed the scoring with a 24-yard touchdown run by Adrian Saphas with less than a minute to go in the third and an 86-yard interception return by Alexander Willin with about four minutes remaining in the game.