Home Local Sports Archmere, behind Chris Albero’s big night, collects big gridiron win at Saint...

Archmere, behind Chris Albero’s big night, collects big gridiron win at Saint Mark’s: Photo gallery

Gavin Lee of the Auks heads toward the end zone. It was a 56-yard, one-play drive. Dialog photo/Jason Winchell

MILLTOWN — Archmere’s football team entered its game Oct. 7 at Saint Mark’s on a two-game losing streak, and at halftime against the Spartans, the Auks trailed, 14-7. In the second half, however, their defense tightened up, keeping the Spartans from adding any more points, and Archmere’s Chris Albero led his team to a 28-21 comeback victory.

With the win, the Auks not only got back into the win column, they continued their good fortune against Saint Mark’s. The Auks have not lost to the Spartans since 2017.

Spartans quarterback Chase Patalano found Jude Campbell in the front right corner of the end zone for the go-ahead touchdown with 19 seconds remaining in the first half, electrifying the capacity crowd at the Graveyard. Archmere, however, doused that momentum with the opening drive of the third quarter.

A few Albero completions combined with one rush moved the Auks from their own 35 to the Spartans’ 23. A holding penalty moved them back to the 29, and two incompletions later Archmere faced a fourth and 16. Albero dropped back and hit Ryan Hagenberg over the middle. Hagenberg did the rest, running through a few would-be tacklers for the tying score with 9:10 to go in the third.

The defenses took over after that, with three consecutive series ending with punts. The Auks moved the ball to the Saint Mark’s 30 as the game moved into the fourth quarter, but Massimo Paoli of the Spartans ended the Auks’ scoring hopes with a jump-ball interception in the end zone.

The Auks’ defense continued to stifle the Spartans, however, forcing another punt, and this time, their offense took advantage — quickly. With the Auks starting at their own 44, Albero rolled right and hit Gavin Lee along the right sideline. Lee shook a few defenders and streaked into the end zone for a 56-yard score, putting Archmere in front for the first time since the 6:15 mark of the second.

It didn’t take long for the seven-point advantage to double, and Albero was at the center of that play as well. Playing defensive back, he jumped into the path of a second-down Patalano pass at the 30 and went untouched into the end zone just a minute after his TD pass.

Albero added one more interception, this one in the final two minutes, ending any hopes of a comeback for the Spartans.

Albero opened the scoring in the first. He capped a 67-yard drive with a 20-yard run around left end for a score with eight seconds left in the quarter. The Spartans tied the score midway through the second. Keigan Barnes went 29 yards off left tackle for six points. That drive, which covered 44 yards, included a seven-yard run on fourth and two by T.J. Martin one play before Barnes’ run.

Albero finished 11 for 19 passing for 198 yards and the two scores. He also had the rushing touchdown and the interceptions. Defensively, Dan Kupiec led the way with eight tackles. The Auks (3-2) travel to Tower Hill on Oct. 15 at 3 p.m.

Saint Mark’s suffered its first loss and is now 5-1. The Spartans are home on Oct. 14 against Concord at 7 p.m.

All photos by Jason Winchell.