MILLTOWN – St. Mark’s took advantage of its opportunities, while Hodgson was unable to capitalize at any point as the Spartans claimed a 24-0 win over the Silver Eagles in Division II football Friday night. The result left both teams with a 4-4 record.
Senior Jamai Rice was an offensive workhorse for St. Mark’s, scoring two touchdowns, to lead the Spartans on Senior Night. The other touchdown was scored by Eric Cella, who also was playing his last game on the school’s campus.
The tenor of the game was set on the first drive. Hodgson’s Tre Martin returned the opening kickoff to the St. Mark’s 30, but a pair of penalties set the Silver Eagles up with a second and 25. They ended up losing the ball on downs at the Spartans’ 21.
St. Mark’s drove the ball inside Hodgson’s 10-yard line before turning it over on a fumble. Hodgson could not muster much and was forced to punt, but it was shanked and went for just five yards. From there, Rice took over. Junior quarterback Billy Sullivan hit Rice on a second and 15 for a first down, and on third down from the Silver Eagles’ 25 Rice ran for 13. Three plays later, Rice got loose behind the Hodgon defense, and Sullivan found him for a nine-yard scoring pass with 8:35 remaining in the half.
Hodgson again turned the ball over on downs, and the Spartans caplitalized. Facing third and 27 at one point, Rice caught a short pass and gained enough for a first down. On the next play, Sullivan hit Cella in stride over the middle with a 35-yard scoring strike three minutes before the half.
The Silver Eagles had another chance early in the third quarter, recovering a fumble at the Spartans’ 28. Hodgson quarterback Marc Perez scored on a four-yard keeper, but a holding call negated the touchdown, sending the offense back to the 12-yard line. A fake reverse gained a yard, and on fourth down Perez’ pass was knocked down. Again, the ball was turned over on downs.
St. Mark’s scored its final touchdown with 1:12 to go in the third after recovering a Hodgson fumble at the Silver Eagles’ 29. Rice ran once and caught three passes on the five-play drive, the last of which was a 10-yard scoring pass.
Junior Chris Ludman added the final points on a 25-yard field goal. The key play on the drive was a direct snap to senior Mikey Rawding on a fake punt. Rawding scampered 30 yards to the Silver Eagles’ four. Hodgson appeared to have spoiled the Spartans’ shutout bid in the game’s final seconds, but a receiver was ruled to have fumbled before reaching the goal line, and St. Mark’s recovered in the end zone.
St. Mark’s travels to Baynard Stadium next Friday for a 7 p.m. start against St. Elizabeth before turning its attention to Salesianum. Hodgson finishes with two games at home, beginning next Saturday vs. Caravel.