For The Dialog
WILMINGTON — St. Mark’s was glad to have senior quarterback Matt Williams back from injury, as his three touchdown passes helped the third-ranked Spartans defeat Salesianum, 28-21, Friday night at Baynard Stadium. Williams, who missed the first five games due to a knee injury, completed 18 of 30 pass attempts for 202 yards to lead St. Mark’s, and he added some key runs to extend drives.
Salesianum got on the board first after Williams’ lone mistake of the evening. After an interception to end the first quarter, the Sals scored on the first play of the second when Colby Reeder broke a tackle and ran for a 51-yard touchdown.
The Spartans were forced to punt on their next possession, but that is when the game’s fortunes changed. The Sals fumbled the punt, and St. Mark’s recovered on the Salesianum 14. On third down, Williams found 6-7 tight end Derek Jackson in the end zone to tie the score with 5:12 left in the first half.
After getting the ball back on their own 20 with 2:23 to go in the second, the Spartans went to work. William threw a short pass to Rhett Schweizer that turned into a 29-yard gain. On fourth and 12 at the Sals’ 29, Williams and Schweizer hooked up again. This time, the quarterback faked a bubble screen, drawing a Salesianum defender toward the line. Schweizer was left wide open down the left side, and he caught the pass for a 14-7 halftime lead.
The lead was extended to 14 points on the first possession of the second half, with the Spartans going 80 yards. Schweizer scored his second TD, this time running it in from eight yards out.
Salesianum got back into the game on a 36-yard pass from Garrett Cannon to Jeremy Ryan with 3:23 to go in the third. St. Mark’s answered immediately. On their next drive, Williams hit Schweizer for a 35-yard gain, and Williams finished the drive with an eight-yard strike to Eric Cella that restored the 14-point margin.
The drama was not over, however, as the Sals kept fighting. Reeder scored his second touchdown on a five-yard run with 3:07 left. The big play of that drive was a 21-yard pass from Cannon to Reeder on a fourth and 17 to keep the Sals’ hopes alive.
After the ensuing onsides kick failed, St. Mark’s was able to run out the clock. Williams helped make that possible by converting a fourth-and-one with a three-yard run.
St. Mark’s improved to 5-2 and host Caesar Rodney next Friday at 7 p.m., while the Sals, who are now 4-3, play as the road team next Friday against Delaware Military Academy at 7:30 p.m. at Baynard Stadium.