ALAPOCAS — Archmere’s football team had collected three big wins to open the 2021 season, but the Auks’ had to know their highly anticipated trip to Wilmington Friends on Oct. 2 was not likely to follow suit. The Auks built up a 17-point lead after three quarters, then held on for a 24-21 win over the Quakers in front of a big crowd at Tattersall Field.
The Auks took the opening kickoff and marched downfield, eventually reaching getting inside the Quakers’ 5 with a first down. But two rushes were stuffed, and quarterback Chris Albero was sacked on third down, forcing Archmere to settle for a 30-yard Albero field goal.
After nearly falling for a fake punt, the Auks took possession on their own 37 late in the first quarter. Albero hit Declan Pearson on first down for 17 yards and a first down at the Friends’ 46. On second and 10, he found Matt Dellose open for a 25-yard gain. Johnny Kim did the rest, going around left end on a sweep and into the end zone to increase the lead to 10-0 with 1:15 left in the quarter.
Friends was not able to mount any attack or take much time off the clock, and the Auks got the ball back on a punt at midfield just before the quarter ended. Albero and Kim connected for a first down on third and 8 for a 27-yard gain that moved the ball to the Quakers’ 20. A few plays later, the Auks found themselves with first and goal from the 9. After picking up seven of those yards on first down, the Auks added another touchdown on a 2-yard run by Pearson with 8:24 to go until the half.
Friends got one of those touchdowns back after a 60-yard drive that took just a minute and 21 seconds. Quarterback Robbie Tattersall connected with Paul Beardell for 17 yards, then with Osi Chukwuocha for another 13. Beardell was on the receiving end of another Tattersall offering, picking up nine yards, and on second and 1 from the Auks’ 21, Hudson Zawadzkas caught a pass for the Quakers’ first points.
The Auks drove downfield as the half neared its conclusion, but Friends ended the drive with an interception deep in their defensive end.
A long punt return set Archmere up at its own 46 on the initial drive of the second half, and the offense went to work from there. Albero picked up 11 yards on the ground on a third and 10 to keep the drive going from the Quakers’ 43. A loss of three yards and an incomplete pass left Archmere with a third down and 13, setting up the most fortuitous play of the afternoon.
Albero dropped back and fired a long pass to Conor Udovich near the Quakers’ 10. Udovich was tackled around the 6, but he fumbled as he fell. Teammate Max Ewing was in the right place, picking up the loose ball and falling into the end zone to restore the Auks’ 17-point lead.
The lead seemed safe, but the Quakers were not so accommodating. Tattersall went to work in the final quarter, throwing touchdown passes of 20 yards to Chukwuocha and 45 yards to Jaden Willie to cut the Auks’ lead to three, but that’s as close as they would get.
Albero threw for 270 yards and rushed for another 62. Dellose had five receptions for 99 yards. Pearson and Udovich each caught three passes. The Auks had at least four sacks. Next week, the Auks (4-0) welcome Saint Mark’s to Coaches Field for a noon showdown.
Friends lost for the first time and is 3-1. The Quakers are at Glasgow next Saturday at noon.
All photos by Mike Lang.