Through its first seven games, Archmere Academy’s football team relied heavily on its passing game.
With the Auks’ attack largely grounded Saturday against Lake Forest, they looked as if they’d been a run-heavy unit all year.
Archmere (5-3 overall) rushed for 262 yards on 51 attempts, keeping its offense mostly on the ground due to a strong wind in its 30-8 victory over the Spartans (4-4) at Coaches’ Field.
“With people coming at you in so many different ways on our offense, sometimes it’s difficult to pick up where the ball actually is,” Auks coach Jerry Ambrogi said. “We weren’t able to throw the ball a lot today because of the wind. That’s usually been our forte, so it was nice to see us being able to run the ball and take care of the clock.”
Leading 9-0 at halftime, Archmere’s first third-quarter drive set a tone for the second half. The Auks moved 53 yards in 11 plays, all but one on the ground, and a 1-yard touchdown run by Jack Malloy (31 carries, 189 yards, three touchdowns) put his team ahead 16-0.
Archmere had two more second-half possessions after its first series, and each of those played out almost exactly the same way, with one touchdown drive of 11 plays and 90 yards and another covering 60 yards in 11 plays.
“Our line’s really coming together,” Malloy said. “When you’re running behind guys like [offensive tackle Conor] Furey and [fullback Connor] Speidel, it’s pretty easy to find holes for us running backs.”
While the Auks’ passing game was largely dialed back, it still made a critical play early in the fourth quarter.
Facing a third-and-7 from its own 13, Archmere quarterback Brian Rogers connected with wide receiver John Nocket for a 9-yard gain and a first down. Rather than punting the ball with a two possession lead, the catch enabled the Auks to keep possession and run the ball with Malloy, Speidel and Francis McVey (10 carries, 51 yards) on seven of the next eight plays to score what was essentially a game-sealing touchdown.
With its win, Archmere will enter its season-closing games against Delaware Military Academy and St. Elizabeth having won five of six games after opening with consecutive losses.
“We’re really catching our stride,” Malloy said. “We struggled a little bit in the beginning, but things are coming around.”