CLAYMONT — Archmere’s football team finished a string of four consecutive games against teams with a winning record in perfect fashion, defeating Tower Hill, 26-15, on Oct. 16 at Coaches Field. The game was played in front of a huge homecoming weekend crowd, which covered the hill next to the field
The Auks took 15 plays to go 41 yards for their first touchdown, which came with 5:25 left in the first quarter. The first two plays were runs by Kieran Udovich for a combined 19 yards, putting Archmere at the Hillers’ 22. But the drive met some resistance there thanks to consecutive holding penalties that moved the Auks back to Tower’s 47-yard line, where they faced a second down and 29.
Johnny Kim ran a sweep around the left side for 14, moving to the 33. The next play was a short pass to Udovich that turned into a 10-yard gain. On fourth down and five from the 23, quarterback Chris Albero connected with receiver Matt Dellose for nine, giving the Auks a new set of downs. They needed two of them. On second and nine, Albero hit Declan Pearson over the middle, and he reached the end zone for the game’s first touchdown.
The Auks’ defense forced a Tower Hill punt, and Albero and the offense went to work again from their own 28. Using a mix of runs and passes, Archmere moved downfield, with the big play being a 29-yard completion to Pearson that put the team at the Hillers’ 15.
Udovich picked up five on first down, but the Auks were again called for holding on second down, pushing them back to the 22. Albero found Kim with a screen pass to the left, and Kim ran through a collision at the goal line for the team’s second score. It came 35 seconds into the second quarter.
The Hillers responded. Using an option-heavy attack focused primarily on quarterback Brendan Hickey and running back Dom Pietlock, they embarked on a time-consuming 62-yard drive. It included a 19-yard run by Pietlock and several short gains. The 15th and final play of the drive was a 16-yard touchdown pass from Hickey to a diving John Gray. The drive took more than six minutes off the clock.
In contrast, the Auks responded with an 80-yard quick-strike scoring march. It took five plays, all of which were first downs. Dellose had a 16-yard catch. Kim then ran for 11, and Albero added a 25-yard keeper to the Hillers’ 22. Kim then caught a pass and reached the Tower Hill 8-yard line, and Micah Walker covered that up the middle. The point after was no good.
Tower Hill had two drives ended by Archmere interceptions in the last three minutes of the half, one by Kevin DiGregorio and another with five seconds left by Conor Udovich. In between those possessions, the Auks had an attempted field goal blocked.
With clouds moving into the area and temperatures that had been in the 80s dropping, the Auks started their final scoring drive midway through the third from their own 41. The drive included a 16-yard pass to Kim, but most of the yardage was gained on rushes. Kim, Albero, Walker and Pearson all carried the ball, and Thomas Pinto went for 12 yards to get Archmere to the Hillers’ 13.
Albero ran again, covering five yards, and Walker added his second rushing TD of the afternoon from the 8. The two-point conversion was no good with 1:15 left in the third.
With the wind in their face, the Hillers tried to mount a comeback. They moved the ball down the field and finished the drive with a 19-yard scoring pass from Hickey to Pietlock. The two-point conversion made the score 26-15.
The Auks, however, were able to run out of the clock to preserve the victory.
Albero was 12 for 14 passing for 142 yards and the two scores. Kim had 52 yards receiving and the same amount rushing. DiGregorio led the team defensively with seven tackles and his interception. Archmere (6-0) hosts Caesar Rodney next Saturday at noon.
Tower Hill (3-2) is back in action Friday night at 7 against Mount Pleasant.
All photos by Jason Winchell.