WILMINGTON — Christian Colmery scored three touchdowns, and the Saint Mark’s defense nearly pitched a shutout in a season-opening 36-6 nonconference football win at Conrad on Oct. 24.
No spectators were allowed inside the fences at Conrad because of coronavirus-related restrictions, but a sizeable crowd watched from lawn chairs and the beds of pickup trucks along two streets that border the football field. They saw the Spartans stifle the Red Wolves’ offense and cause two turnovers, both of which were turned into touchdowns.
The first score of the season did not involve a turnover, but the Spartans’ defense did hold the Red Wolves to a three and out. Ty Scott fielded the Conrad punt and returned it across midfield to the Conrad 45. A personal foul added 15 yards to the end result, setting Saint Mark’s up with just 30 yards separating the team from the end zone.
They would get into the end zone on the ground, needing seven rushing attempts to get on the scoreboard. Sophomore T.J. Martin had five of those, covering nine yards on two carries before Jeremy Vogel ran for six. Martin took it to the three before Colmery finished the drive with a three-yard run.
Scott had the first of his two interceptions on Conrad’s next play from scrimmage, and he returned the ball to the Red Wolves’ 41. Colmery kept the drive by running for seven yards on a fourth and three, and on a first down shortly thereafter from the 20, quarterback Reid Dalton hit Colmery down the left side for a score with 4:01 left in the quarter.
Conrad returned the kickoff to the Spartans’ 13-yard line, but the Red Wolves could not advance the ball. Quarterback Quinton Conway tossed the ball to Santana Gadson on a screen with four minutes left, but the Spartans’ Kohn Burns stopped Gadson short of a first down with an ankle tackle.
Scott picked off his second pass of the day on Conrad’s next drive, setting his team up at the Conrad 25. Martin carried on first down, missing a touchdown by a yard. A penalty set the Spartans back at the 6., but Martin earned those yards back on two carries, the second of which was a one-yard touchdown with 6:40 left in the first half.
Another Conrad three and out put the ball back in Saint Mark’s hands at the Red Wolves’ 34-yard line. Dalton completed a 14-yard pass, and on first down at the 20, Donovan Artis deked, danced his way into the end zone. Following a missed point after, the score was 27-0
Conway ended a 55-yard drive with a five-yard scoring strike to Alex Brown, but Saint Mark’s had an answer. Their next drive included a 45-yard run by Martin to take the ball deep into enemy territory, and it ended when Colmery ran around the left end into the end zone. Saint Mark’s added two points on a safety later in the fourth quarter to end the scoring.
Saint Mark’s (1-0) will host Lake Forest next Friday at 7 p.m. Conrad (0-1) travels to First State Military Academy on Saturday at 11.
All photos by Mike Lang.