(Bear, DE) The “ball-control” offense of Caravel Academy was on full display Friday night as the Buccaneers gained over 220 yards rushing in a dominant win. Caravel returns to Delaware Stadium next week to play for a state championship against the winner of Saturday’s other semifinal between Woodbridge and Archmere.
The Bucs scored on their first possession as Jordan Miller ran for a 10 yard touchdown, taking a pitch from Truman Auwerda and followed a lead block by Brock Rhodes into the end zone. Miller would carry the ball 27 times on the frigid night at Bob Peoples Stadium. The Howard Wildcats did everything they could to slow down Miller, but the Bucs offensive line controlled the night. The combination of center Dwight Williams, guards Owen Kamether and Ian Smith, plus tackles Priest Jones and Zavion Tuck proved to be the difference in the contest.
Following the Jordan Miller score, the Bucs defense forced Howard to punt. Trey Hamlin grabbed the kick just inside midfield, raced to the far sideline and took the ball 53 yards for his fifth punt return for a touchdown this season. Those early points would prove to be all the Bucs needed to get the victory.
Howard quarterback R-J Matthews passed for 350 yards earlier this season in a 54-36 loss to Caravel, but this time the cold night, plus better defensive coverage made it much tougher for him. Matthews completed just 12 of 40 attempts for 265 yards, making the most of his completions for “large chunks of real estate”. The Wildcats turned the ball over five times on fourth down tries in Caravel territory. Two touchdowns were nullified for penalties. Matthews threw a perfect strike to Jamal Johnson for a score in the second half but Johnson was hit with an offensive pass interference call that took those points off the board. That drive eventually culminated with a “turnover on downs”. The Wildcats had a 1-yard Matthews touchdown run called back for an “aiding the runner” penalty. In the NFL, the Philadelphia Eagles use a power formation (The brotherly shove) to score on short yardage situations, but in high school ball, that is illegal. Those two lost opportunities were Howard’s best chances to score in the game.
Caravel also scored on a 19-yard fourth down pass from Truman Auwerda to Brock Rhodes to take a 22-0 lead at the break. The two second half touchdowns were supplied by Hamlin (7 yard run) and Jordan Miller (1 yard run). Freshman kicker Nick Massey was a perfect 4-for-4 on extra point attempts. Jordan Miller paced the Bucs with 140 yards rushing, Craig Miller added 55 yards on 9 carries, while Auwerda completed three of his four passes for 51 yards.
Both teams were making the 19th playoff appearance in school history. Howard finishes the season with a record of 8-4, while Caravel will take a 12-0 mark into next Saturday’s championship game at Delaware Stadium.
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