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With less than a minute left in Archbishop Spalding High’s season-opening football victory Friday night, senior quarterback Zach Abey gave coach Kyle Schmitt a celebratory Gatorade dumping.

The Schmitt era at Spalding is off to a promising start after a 42-16 pasting of Philadelphia’s Delaware Valley Charter in Severn. Abey threw for three touchdowns and seniors Ronnie Beswick, Ryan Baublitz and Avery Simmons each scored twice.

The 12th-ranked Cavaliers scored the game’s first 28 points en route to their first opening victory since 2011. It wasn’t flawless, but Spalding was superior on both sides of the ball.

“Our line played fairly well, I thought they were sloppy at times,” said Schmitt. “It wasn’t as high as our expectations, but when we had to move the ball we did.”

The Cavaliers produced 355 offensive yards as Abey, a University of Buffalo commit, accounted for 194 yards (87 rushing and 107 passing). Sophomore reserve running back Rylan Sweetney rushed for 98 yards.

Defensively, Abey, Bestwick and freshman Tyre Beale each had an interception and senior defensive linemen Zach Hill and Jack Havens recorded a quarterback sack. Senior linemen Melvin Gowl recovered a fumble.

Schmitt commended his front defensive seven including Hill, Jones, Gowl, Robert Kreczmer, Havens and Brendan Simpkins. Hill established Spalding’s presence early with a couple of clean hard hits.

“It was unbelievable having a season opener like that and showing people you can play,” said Hill. “We just go out and play at our level.”

Delaware Valley got to Spalding’s 19-yard line on its second drive, but a Havens’ sack and incomplete pass ended the drive. The Cavaliers promptly went 75 yards in 10 plays as Baublitz scored from two yards out for their first touchdown of 2013.

After Jones’ fumble recovery, Spalding ceased full command. On the next play, Abey connected with Beswick in the right corner of the end zone for a 35-yard touchdown.

“We needed the turnover and we needed the touchdown right after that to show we weren’t playing around with them anymore,” said Beswick. “We came out and showed them we were ready to play football.”

“It’s called ‘sudden change’ [on play sheet] and we like to take a shot after a sudden change situation,” said Schmitt. “We were happy with the big play tonight, we got to get more consistent driving the ball.”

Simmons capped a four-play, 57-yard drive with a five-yard score for Spalding to open the second half. After Bestwick’s interception, the Cavaliers immediately made Delaware Valley pay as Abey found Simmons on a 56-yard touchdown pass.

The Warriors (0-1) got a 62-yard kickoff return from Raisheem Rockwell, setting up their first score, a nine-yard pass from Dwine Walls to Solomon Fithett. Their momentum was short-lived.

Sweetney broke off a 43-yard run, putting the Cavaliers inside Delaware Valley’s 20. Two plays later, Abey and Bestwick hooked up again, this time from 16 yards out.

In the fourth quarter, Baublitz followed a Delaware Valley Charter bad punt snap with a seven-yard run for Spalding’s final score. The 42 points Friday were the most scored by the Cavaliers since putting up 62 against Leonardtown in 2011.

“It’s a complete change offensively so we had to practice at a quicker pace,” said Abey. “We got the tempo going and we capitalized on what they gave us.”

In the end, Spalding made Schmitt the most successful coach (by win-percentage) in program history at 1-0. Schmitt led Atholton to a four straight Class 3A state public playoff appearances before coming to the Anne Arundel County private school as the successor to the late Mike Whittles.

“He brings a whole new tempo to the whole team,” said Abey. “Everyone’s excited.”

hill and abey“I really don’t feel pressure, I’d try to apply it,” said Schmitt, whose team hosts Anne Arundel County private school rival St. Mary’s next weekend. “We told the kids to enjoy it, but at the same time, this is what’s expected.”

No. 12 Archbishop Spalding 41, Delaware Valley Charter (Pa.) 16

Delaware Valley Charter 0 0 8 8 – 16

Spalding 0 14 21 6 0 – 41

Second quarter

Spalding – Baublitz 2 run (Butts kick)

Spalding – Beswick 35 pass from Abey (Butts kick)

Third quarter

Spalding – Simmons 5 run (Butts kick)

Spalding – Simmons 56 pass from Abey (Butts kick)

Delaware Valley – Fithett 9 pass from Walls (Numble run)

Spalding – Beswick 16 pass from Abey (Butts kick)

Fourth quarter

Delaware Valley – Walls 7 run (Shannon run)

Spalding – Baublitz 7 run (kick failed)