NEWARK — Caravel’s vaunted ground game was held to a single touchdown in the first half of the Buccaneers’ DIAA Class 2A football championship game vs. Archmere on Dec. 2, but after the intermission, Caravel ran its way to a state title.
The Buccaneers gained 414 yards on the ground, opening up a 21-0 lead on the Auks on the way to a 35-13 win at Delaware Stadium. It ended a perfect 13-0 season for the Bucs, who won their first state championship since 2012.
The loss marked the end of a 9-4 season for Archmere, which was 1-3 after a regular-season setback at Caravel. The Auks ran off six straight wins to end the regular season before winning twice more in the postseason to reach the final for the third time in four seasons. This group of Auks seniors are the first to do that since Archmere reached eight straight Division II finals from 1976-83.
Defense ruled early on, with the teams trading punts throughout the first quarter and into the second. The Bucs took over after an Auks punt at their own 48 with 7:31 to go in the half, and it took just one play to get on the board. Craig Miller took a handoff and sprinted up the middle for a 52-yard score to get the scoring started.
Caravel was driving at the end of the half, but Archmere’s Miles Kempski ended the threat with an interception in the end zone with a few seconds left on the clock.
Caravel’s “other” Miller, Jordan, got his chance in the spotlight as the second half opened. The Bucs started at their own 40 after the kickoff, and Jordan Miller carried twice. The first went for nine yards, the second for the remaining 51, giving Caravel a two-touchdown lead just 42 seconds into the third.
The Buccaneers forced the Auks into a three and out, then went right back to the ground attack. It was another two-play drive, with the Millers splitting the duties. Jordan ran for five yards on first down, and Craig split the defense up the middle for a 62-yard touchdown, increasing the lead to 21.
The Auks got on the board late in the third, going 62 yards on four plays. Christian Wittmeyer got it started with a 15-yard run, and two plays later the Auks were at the Caravel 31. Kempski hit a wide-open Gavin Lee down the left side, covering 31 yards for a touchdown.
The Bucs responded. Craig Miller and Jordan Miller each carried three times to advance the ball to the Auks’ 34, and Trey Hamlin joined the touchdown party after that. He took a reverse around the left end into the end zone, and the score was 28-7.
Kempski hit a sliding Drew Duncan with an 11-yard scoring pass midway through the fourth, and Jordan Miller added a 24-yard run to close out the scoring.
Jordan Miller finished with 215 yards on 31 carries, and Craig Miller had 146 yards on 11 carries. Each scored twice. Hamlin ran three times for 55 yards and his touchdown. Amir Myers and Joseph Devane each had seven tackles to lead the defense.
For the Auks, Kempski completed 12 of 24 passes for 140 yards and two touchdowns. Lee caught five of them for 64 yards, and Duncan had four catches for 42 yards. They both scored a touchdown. Wittmeyer had 10 tackles to pace the defense, while Michael Donovan added eight.
All photos by Mike Lang.