CLAYMONT — The fifth-ranked Archmere Auks scored 21 fourth-quarter points to erase a 20-3 deficit to defeat Saint Mark’s, 24-20, on Sept. 28.
The Auks took the opening kickoff and marched down the field, thanks in part to a 44-yard run by Mike Mallamaci. The Spartans’ defense held, and Chris Albero kicked a 32-yard field goal for the early 3-0 lead.
Archmere was driving again on its second possession, but the Spartans’ Dion Glover made an impressive interception after fighting with the Auks’ Matt DiGregorio for the catch at the Saint Mark’s 5. Defense was the name of the game early on.
The Spartans, ranked 10th in Division II by 302Sports.com, faced a fourth and 10 from the Archmere 26 in the second quarter. Quarterback Jack LaFrankie hit Christian Colmery down the right sideline for a touchdown and a 7-3 lead with 7:53 left.
Saint Mark’s would strike again three minutes later as LaFrankie found Blaec Sanders with a 33-yard screen pass on fourth and 6 to make the score 14-3. The Spartans had one more opportunity to score before the half ended, but Dominic Anerino sacked LaFrankie at the Archmere 15, and time ran out before the Spartans could get the field-goal attempt in the air.
It didn’t take them long to get those points back, plus a few more, after halftime. The Spartans struck again on another fourth-down screen to Sanders from 30 yards out. The extra point was blocked, so the lead was 20-3. The Spartans foiled an Auks fake punt, but their offensive drive was stopped at the Archmere 3 as the third quarter came to an end.
Auks quarterback Tom Carney took over on the next drive. He hit James Pinto with a 41-yard strike, then found Matt Dellose for a 32-yard score, and with 6:32 left, it was 20-10 Saint Mark’s.
Archmere’s defense came up big, forcing a three-and-out, and the Auks took over at the Spartans’ 40. On first down, Carney extended the play and hit Roo Conaty in the end zone. Suddenly, Saint Mark’s lead was down to 20-17.
The momentum stayed with the Auks as Connor Udovich intercepted a pass to give his team possession at the Spartans 32. Mallamaci took the ball on the next play and raced 32 yards to give the Auks a 24-20 lead with 3:52 left. Udovich intercepted a Spartans pass to seal the victory.
The Auks (4-0) got 109 rushing yards on 11 carries from Mallamaci. Carney completed six of 11 passes for 123 yards and two touchdowns. Archmere travels to No. 1 Woodbridge next Friday for a 7 p.m. kickoff.
The Spartans (3-1) are on the road at Appoquinimink on Friday night for a 7:30 start.