Archie hasn’t had much success on the football field the last few years, so when Drexel put the Whirlwinds on the schedule for Homecoming, Archie took that message to heart. After all, most of these Archie seniors were only 11 years old the last time the Whirlwinds beat the Bobcats.
These Whirlwinds didn’t want to be Homecoming pushovers.
Powered by running back Brenden Lindley’s 175 rushing yards and two touchdowns, Archie jumped ahead early and held on for a 24-22 victory at Drexel.
Lindley’s first touchdown came on an 81-yard run in the first quarter, and it gave Archie enough momentum to take a 24-14 lead by halftime and hold off the Bobcats in the second half.
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“Brenden is your 160-pound, Class-1 kid but runs like he’s 210,” said Archie coach Michael Toschi. “He runs as hard as anyone on the team. We tell him you’ve got to keep running because you never know.”
Drexel’s defense held the Whirlwinds scoreless in the second half, and an Aaron Woods touchdown with three minutes to go in the game pulled the Bobcats within two.
Archie recovered the Drexel onside kick on the 49-yard line, but the Bobcat defense held strong one final time, giving the offense one final shot at a homecoming victory. Drexel drove the ball down to the Whirlwind 30-yard line before the Archie defense came up big to preserve the WEMO Conference win.
“Last year we wouldn’t have won that game,” said Toschi, whose Whirlwinds lost to Drexel 22-21 last season. “It was the same type of game and we got beat. It wasn’t pretty but we played to the final whistle.”
Drexel had its own mental hurdles to overcome before settling down and nearly snatching the victory away from the Whirlwinds.
“Our kids were so amped in the first half we weren’t really executing the game plan,” said Drexel coach Ryan Holden. “There was no secret to the second half. In the locker room we just reviewed the game plan and started executing better.”
With the loss, the Bobcats fall to 1-2 on the season, but Holden is hopeful Drexel can turn the corner. He said quarterback Kegan Nichols has made great strides and Woods ran hard whenever he was in the game.
“Our offensive line started to jell a little more,” Holden said. “Our backs ran harder than they had all season. We are starting to come together and find our way.
The Whirlwinds, who are aiming for their first winning season since 2011, are now 2-1 and own impressive wins over conference rivals Midway and Drexel. Archie’s last win over Drexel was a 31-6 victory in 2010.
“It’s been something we started over the last couple years,” said Toschi. “I finally have my new staff in and we decided that we’d take this program a different direction and I think the boys are finally buying into it.”