Delmar ousts Archmere in D-II tournament opener, Woodbridge rematch next

CLAYMONT — The longest possible drive in the state from high school to high school was no match for the Delmar High football team.

The Wildcats earned a road victory, 38-10, over third-seeded Archmere Academy in the first round of the DIAA Division II football state tournament on Saturday afternoon.

The six-seeded Wildcats will have a shot to defend their 2017 Division II state title. They advanced to play at four seed Woodbridge High next weekend at a time to be determined after the brackets reseeded.

The two Henlopen Conference Southern Division rivals met in the season finale just one week ago with the Blue Raiders shutting out Delmar for the conference championship and ending Delmar’s 20-game win streak in the process.

Delmar also lost its starting quarterback A.J. Angello with an injury against Woodbridge. It meant once again the Wildcats would need to turn to Dante Trader for a playoff push.

Trader made his debut at quarterback last year as a freshman in the first round and quarterbacked Delmar to the championship.
He picked up where he left off in the playoffs with a two passing touchdowns and one rushing touchdown against Archmere.

“I knew all week I had to get prepared,” Trader said. “I got good looks all week from the scout team. We had good preparation from the coaches getting ready for that defense. That’s how we win games, during practice and watching hours of film.”

“I was very confident,” Trader said. “Football is fun. If you’re tight, you’re not going to play well out here.”

Trader had been playing running back for Delmar until he shifted to quarterback.

“Dante’s a 1,000-yard rusher as a halfback,” said Delmar coach Dave Hearn. “You stick him there (at quarterback), now you got to account for him. He had a good game. We struggled a bit in the first half but were much better in the second half.”

The Wildcats led 17-10 at halftime before keeping the Auks off the scoreboard in the second half.

The offense also got touchdowns from Te’Shawn Dennard and Ni’Juier Gaines on the ground. Te’Kwon Dennard and Jacob VonArx both caught touchdowns for Delmar.

Delmar also had a strong performance on special teams.

Kicker Guillermo Konowaluk-Echude booted a 31-yard field goal in the first half and was a perfect five-for-five on his extra point attempts. Punter Ryan Nelson downed two punts inside Archmere’s 20-yard line, including one at the one-yard line.

“We talked about them all week how they blocked a bunch of punts,” Hearn said. “We worked very hard, punter worked hard on getting the ball off and we have a good center on snaps. The extra points weren’t pretty but they all went through. We didn’t make any mistakes. Special teams, you just don’t want to make a bad play.”

While Delmar was not able to win the conference title, the Wildcats did not want to let that disappointment carry over into the postseason.

“We got punched in the mouth last week,” Trader said. “That hurt. We knew we couldn’t roll over this week.”

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