A person with no knowledge of football may have thought Austin Colmery was a selfish player.
The St. Mark’s senior got his hands on the ball all night long in all three phases of the Spartans’ 42-7 win over visiting Archmere on Friday. He snagged an interception, returned a punt 70 yards for a touchdown and amassed 211 all-purpose yards, nearly all of which came in the first half.
The Spartans moved to 4-0, stunning an Auks team that pulled off a last-minute win over Tatnall a week ago.
Colmery’s explanation for his and his team’s dominant performance was simple: they were pumped up for this contest.
“We’ve been waiting for this game for over a year; it was circled on our calendar,” he said. “I just wanted to come out here with the team and put it to them. We’re playing great, good teamwork and good practice.”
Colmery had plenty of help along the way. Fullback Dominic Catalano carried the ball 9 times for 92 yards and three touchdowns, while quarterback Billy Sullivan completed 9 of 14 passes for 122 yards.
“We passed more than usual at the start, which opened up our running game,” St. Mark’s head coach John Wilson said. “You could see the confidence growing each time we scored. The offensive line has matured very quickly, and they did a tremendous job for us tonight.”
While the Spartans’ defense shut down Archmere’s running game, Catalano did plenty of running early in the game.
The Spartans drained just two minutes off the clock in their opening drive, gobbling up yardage after starting modestly at their own 36. Catalano capped the 5-play drive with a 19-yard sprint up the middle for St. Mark’s first points.
Archmere (2-2) tried to respond, but Colmery picked off Joe DiGregorio at the Spartan 45. Catalano tore through the line on the next play for a 55-yard touchdown.
The score remained 14-0 until the end of the first quarter when Colmery received Archmere’s punt and zipped by several Auk defenders down the left sideline. After crossing midfield, he cut to the right and incredibly made it to the end zone along the right sideline.
“That punt return was huge,” Wilson said. “Austin is always making big plays for us.”
Archmere got its only points in the second quarter with the help of its own big play on special teams. Senior Kevin Olsen blocked a punt that set up the Auks in St. Mark’s territory for the first time in the game. Fullback Patrick Udovich ran the ball four times on the ensuing drive, including into the end zone. He ran the ball 13 times for 61 yards.
“We’re down a couple players and that makes it difficult to move the ball against a fundamentally sound team like that,” Archmere head coach John Bellace said. “They just did a nice job of bottling up the run.”
The Spartans led 35-7 by the half and kept the Auks from connecting on big plays like they did against Tatnall. Wilson praised the job by his secondary of keeping the passing lanes blocked.
“You’d like to attack on defense, but we had a bend-don’t-break mentality,” he said. “I got a little concerned with one of their running packages that opened the field up a little for them, but luckily by then, it was too late.”
Spartan freshman Andrew Watkins got several touches and scored two touchdowns, a fortunate by-product of St. Mark’s lopsided wins so far this season.
“Some of the young guys have had to grow up fast this season,” Wilson said. “There are still some things we need to work on, but hopefully that experience will help us as we move along.”