MILLTOWN – Saint Mark’s used a multi-pronged running attack to open up a 28-0 lead on the way to a 34-7 win over Conrad in the teams’ season opener at the Graveyard on Sept. 6. Sophomore running back Jeremiah Moore reached the end zone three times to pace the Spartans.
Playing in front of a big crowd on a cool night, the Spartans kicked off to begin the game. It took them only a minute, however, to get possession deep in Red Wolves territory as Ben Anderson recovered a fumble at the Saint Mark’s 45. From there, the offense went to work.
After a five-yard run by Moore, senior quarterback Jack LaFrankie found classmate Blaec Sanders with a screen pass left, picking up 27 yards. Moore did the rest, carrying the next three plays, the final one a 13-yard touchdown around the right end for the 7-0 lead less than three minutes in.
“We kept our heads,” Moore said. “We knew we were going to do what we had to do.”
Conrad returned the kickoff into Spartans territory, but the home defense held, forcing a punt. Sanders caught a short pass on third-and-11 from the Saint Mark’s 29, reaching the 48 for a first down. On the next play, Moore rumbled off right tackle for his second score, this time from 52 yards with 6:21 remaining in the quarter.
Both the Spartans and Red Wolves continued to move the ball, but the next score did not come until the middle of the second. This time, the Spartans drove 61 yards, with LaFrankie hitting Sanders on a screen pass at the 15, and Sanders danced his way into the end zone.
Conrad’s next drive ended on an interception, with the Spartans taking over at their own 48 late in the half. LaFrankie hooked up with tight end Patrick Palm for the big play of the drive, a 26-yard pass over the middle on fourth-and-8 from the Red Wolves 27. LaFrankie got in on the scoring on the next play, diving in from the 1 to make it 28-0 with just 22 seconds on the clock.
LaFrankie, playing his first varsity game at quarterback, was happy to be playing in a game that counted in the standings. “It’s so much fun to get back out here and have fun, play with the boys again.”
Instead of sitting on the ball, the Red Wolves were aggressive on offense after receiving the kickoff, and it paid dividends. Facing a second down at their own 40, quarterback Stephen Allen hit Ja’Teir Berkley-Osborne with a screen pass, and Berkley-Osborne zipped down the right side to put Conrad on the board with three ticks left on the clock.
That would be the end of the Red Wolves’ scoring, and Saint Mark’s spent most of the second half handing the ball off to burn the clock. Moore shared the ball-carrying duties with Zion Glover and Christian Colmery. A five-and-a-half minute drive ate up much of the third quarter and resulted in Moore’s third touchdown.
The Spartans converted two fourth downs on the drive; the second was a seven-yard pass to Sanders on fourth-and-2 from the Red Wolves’ 13. Moore wrapped up that series with a one-yard TD.
LaFrankie said the coaches put together a solid game plan.
“We prepared well. Everything that we worked on in practice was there. We just played well,” he said.
Final statistics were not available late Friday night. The Spartans (1-0) travel to Caravel Academy next Saturday night to meet St. Elizabeth in a 7:30 p.m. start. Conrad (0-1) will host Archmere next Saturday at 1 p.m.