BEAR — After a promising start, little went right for Archmere in the Auks’ DIAA Class 2A football semifinal Dec. 2 at Caravel. The top-seeded Bucs scored 30 unanswered points in a 30-6 win and advance to the state championship game next Saturday at Delaware Stadium, when the No. 5 Auks’ reign as state champion will come to an end.
The Auks’ defense was the first bright spot on the evening at Bob Peoples Stadium. The Buccaneers moved the ball quickly down the field on their first possession, including a would-be 31-yard touchdown run that was negated by a holding penalty. After the flag, the Auks toughened up, forcing a turnover on downs at the Archmere 17.
From there, the offense went to work, mixing rushes and passes to move into Bucs territory, along with a personal foul on Caravel that helped Archmere along. Quarterback Chris Albero picked up 11 yards on a third down and one, and he followed that with a 10-yard pass to Cole Fenice to the Bucs’ 12. Two plays later, Albero rolled to his right and eventually found Gavin Lee in the back of the end zone for a touchdown. The extra point was blocked, and Archmere had a 6-0 lead with 3:41 remaining in the first quarter.
That, however, would be all of the Auks’ scoring. The teams traded possessions until the end of the half, with the Buccaneers taking over at their own 31 with 2:21 remaining in the first half.
Running back Jordan Miller — a thorn in the Auks’ side all night — picked up 21 yards on first down, with Archmere’s Aidan Bellew making a touchdown-saving tackle. On second and 5, Miller gashed the defense for another 24 yards until Bellew again brought him down. Miller ran for another 12 yards, giving Caravel a first and goal at the 7, and two plays later he finished the drive up the middle for a score. The Buccaneers took a 7-6 lead with 17 seconds left in the half.
Caravel received the kickoff to start the second half, and on the second play from scrimmage, Miller went 31 yards to the Archmere 29. He got the touchdown on this drive as well, shooting untouched up the middle on fourth down for a 13-yard score.
The Auks’ first two possessions of the second half ended with an interception and a punt, respectively, and after the punt Caravel went to work from its own 22. They earned one first down before quarterback Truman Auwerda threw a screen pass to J.T. Wingo, who streaked 68 yards down the left side to make it 21-6 with 25 seconds remaining in the third quarter.
Caravel added two points on a safety when Albero was called for intentional grounding in the end zone early in the fourth. Christian DeRegis closed out the scoring a few minutes later when he returned an intercepted pass for a touchdown.
The Buccaneers improved to 12-0. They await the winner of the Wilmington Friends-Saint Mark’s semifinal on Saturday at 7 p.m. at Saint Mark’s.
Frnice had six receptions for 85 yards, and he added 32 yards rushing. He also had 11 tackles on defense. Kieran Udovich led the Auks with 13 tackles, while Bellew had eight. Archmere finished with a record of 9-3.
This year’s senior class went 38-7 over the past four seasons, with two appearances in the state championship game and a title last year.
All photos by Jason Winchell.