The Delaware Interscholastic Athletic Association agreed to expand the Division II football playoffs from six teams to eight this season.
Archmere took advantage of the new format and, as the eighth seed, knocked off top-seeded St. Georges 19-13 in the opening round last Saturday. The Auks’ reward is a semifinal game at second-seeded Hodgson at 11 a.m. today.
That’s because the DIAA reseeds teams after each round. As the lowest seed, Archmere must play the highest remaining seed in each round. If the Auks win this one, they will face No. 3 Caravel or No. 4 Indian River in the championship game on Nov. 30 at Delaware State University’s Alumni Stadium.
But Archmere (8-3) is thrilled to still be playing, especially after a scary second half against the Hawks. The Auks cruised into halftime with a 19-0 lead, then held on to hand St. Georges its first loss.
“We told the kids that you don’t go 10-0 and then just lay down,” Archmere coach Jerry Ambrogi said of his halftime message. “That’s just not going to happen. We expected to get punched in the mouth, and how the kids responded said a lot about them.”
Now, the Auks must battle a Hodgson team with only one loss – a 28-19 setback against St. Georges on Oct. 20. The Silver Eagles (10-1) run a spread offense that often confuses opponents.
“They run a thousand different formations,” Ambrogi said. “They get to where they want to go, but they do it by making two or three shifts and they get you running all over the place trying to figure out what they’re going to do.”
Hodgson piled up 280 rushing yards in a 47-6 victory over Delaware Military Academy in the opening round. Running back Jeff May rushed for 142 yards and two scores, and also returned a punt 72 yards for a touchdown.
“We need to protect the football and minimize our turnovers,” Silver Eagles coach Frank Moffett said. “We’ve got some athletes we’d like to get into some space. I’m not going to try to change anything at this stage. We’re going to spread the ball out and utilize our athletic ability.”
The Auks counter with a balanced attack. Ryan Beatson rushed for 84 yards in the win over St. Georges, and quarterback Brian Rogers completed 10 of 19 passes for 145 yards.