WILMINGTON — The Howard Wildcats showcased their explosive offense several times in a Division II football game with St. Mark’s on Oct. 13, and they left Baynard Stadium with a 36-26 win over the Spartans.
St. Mark’s, the 10th-ranked team in Division II by 302Sports.com, opened the contest with an 80-yard drive that chewed nearly nine minutes off the clock, and it ended with a four-yard touchdown. But Howard answered right back, needing only about 30 seconds. After a 15-yard run put the Wildcats at the Spartans’ 40, quarterback Tyhir Harley found Isaiah Kelsey down the right side for a score. The two-point conversion gave the Wildcats an 8-6 lead.
Taking over at their own 37, the Spartans picked up 20 yards on two T.J. Butler rushes. A few plays later, quarterback Jelani Bryant then found Devon Jones open at the Howard 14, and on third-and-six from the 10, Bryant hit Carter Benham on play action. Benham ran the final seven yards, sneaking the ball inside the pylon. The conversion put the Spartans ahead, 14-8.
Just before halftime, fourth-ranked Howard knotted the score on a two-yard burst by Karvin Reeves. That capped a 92-yeard drive that included a 41-yard catch and run by David Hancock to get the ball to the Spartans’ 4. The conversion was no good, and it was tied at 14 at intermission.
The Wildcats received the kickoff to open the second half, and they didn’t waste any time on offense. On first down from their own 20, Harley ran for 57 yards to the Spartans’ 28. With 9:54 to go, Stephen Forbi finished the drive with a three-yeard scoring run, and another successful two-point try made it 22-14.
The Spartans answered with some help from Howard, recovering a fumble at their own 48. Runs from Benham, Bryant and Christian Colmery advanced the ball to the Wildcats’ 22. Bryant did it himself from there. He ran three straight times, the final attempt going for four yards and a touchdown. He nearly tied the score on the conversion, but was ruled to have been tackled short of the goal line.
Reeves pushed the lead back to eight points in the first minute of the fourth quarter. He took a handoff up the middle, and 56 yards later, it was 28-20 Howard. The Wildcats recovered a Spartans fumble on the ensuing possession, and they took advantage. A penalty set Howard up at the Spartans’ 28, and Forbi scored his second TD of the afternoon with a run around left end. The conversion made it 36-20.
St. Mark’s closed to within 10 points with 7:46 to go when Victor Marcelo went over the top of a defender to snare a 30-yard touchdown. Howard was able to run four and a half minutes off the clock before St. Mark’s got the ball back, but they were unable to score again.
The Spartans (4-2) play their next three games at home, beginning with Delaware Military Academy next Friday at 7 p.m. The Wildcats are back at Baynard next Saturday at 1 p.m. for a showdown with No. 2 A.I. duPont.