After a frustrating season without a win, the Appoquinimink High School football team ended the season with a big victory tonight at home on Senior Night.
The Jaguars used a smothering defense to defeat the Charter School of Wilmington 13-3. The Force came into the game with a 2-7 record, having defeated Newark and Delcastle this season.
In the first quarter, the two teams traded punts before the Jaguars mounted their first scoring threat. Appoquinimink moved the ball into Charter territory, but when the drive stalled, a field goal attempt was blocked. The quarter ended in a scoreless tie.
In the second quarter, the Jaguars took the lead on a 75-yard scoring drive highlighted by a 24-yard touchdown pass from Daniel Livingston to Matthew Johnson with 1:08 left in the half. Andrew Jones kicked the extra point for a 7-0 lead. The drive was sparked by several big runs by Demetrius Word, including a 27-yard play.
With about one minute left in the half, Appo tried a squib kickoff to prevent a potential big return. But the strategy backfired because Charter took the short kick and returned it to the 50-yard line.
The Force quickly moved the ball toward the end zone with passes and runs, but the Jaguars' defense dug in. With just seconds left in the half, Charter faced a fourth down and five yards to go from Appo's 16. The Force brought on the field goal unit, but Appo was offsides on the attempt, giving Charter a try from five yards closer. The Force kicker nailed the field goal as time ran out to make the halftime score 7-3.
Charter received the kickoff to start the third quarter, but Appo's defense stopped the Force after three downs and forced a punt.
The snap to the punter was low, and the punt was short. Appo took over on Charter's 32.
Word had some big carries as the Jaguars worked the ball down to the goal line. Then Daniel Poarch broke through the Charter defense on a one-yard plunge for a touchdown. The extra-point kick was blocked, but the Jaguars had a 13-3 lead with 4:43 left in the third quarter.
Charter took the kickoff and moved the ball into Appo territory, using short passes mixed with runs. At the 33-yard line, the Jaguars stopped a third-and-two play, and then forced an incomplete pass on fourth-and-two to take over with 1:41 remaining in the third quarter.
Appo moved the ball upfield, with a drive that lasted into the fourth quarter, but a fumble gave the ball back to the Force with 9:20 left in the game.
Again, the Jaguars' defense was up to the challenge, forcing Charter into a fourth and 10 from its own 45. As the Charter quarterback dropped back to pass, he was sacked by the Jaguars' Ronald Tuck for a 10-yard loss with 6:03 to play.
Page 2 of 2 - On Appo's next drive, a long touchdown run by Word was called back because of a penalty, and then the Jaguars had to punt with 3:21 left. Charter drove to midfield, but the Appo defense stopped the Force on a fourth down play with 1:19 left.
As Appo was trying to run out the clock, Word broke through the Charter defense for a 19-yard run to the Force's 30-yard line to ice the game.
Appoquinimink head coach Jeff Weiner said he was proud of the team's effort.
"We made this like their Super Bowl. We wanted to end the season on a positive note, for the young kids for next year, and for the seniors to go out the right way," Weiner said.
The Jaguars finished the season 1-9.