Home Local Sports High school football season kicks off this week with Salesianum, Saint Mark’s...

High school football season kicks off this week with Salesianum, Saint Mark’s in action

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Saint Mark's football team practices in the August heat. The Spartans open their season Sept. 3 at home. Dialog photo/Mike Lang

High school athletics returns this week with a handful of football games, including two involving Catholic schools. Salesianum will open the season Sept. 2 at Cape Henlopen, while Saint Mark’s kicks off the 2021 campaign the next night at home against A.I. duPont.

It is the first year of the realignment of high school football in the First State. There are now three divisions instead of two, with the teams classified by size and recent performance rather than geography or other characteristics. The move was made to make the sport more equitable for an increased number of schools, and to reduce the percentage of games that were not competitive.

Salesianum is in Class 3, District 1, one of 11 teams in Class 3. The Sals will play all 10 of their games against Delaware opponents for the first time in recent memory, perhaps ever. This will be the first meeting with Cape Henlopen in years. Sallies is looking to improve on last year’s 3-4 record, which left them out of the postseason picture.

Schedule (Home games in CAPS)

Sept. 2: Cape Henlopen, 7 p.m.

Salesianum (in blue) traveled to West Chester (Pa.) Rustin High School for a scrimmage on Aug. 27. Dialog photo/Mike Lang

Sept. 10: SUSSEX CENTRAL, 7 p.m.

Sept. 24: ST. GEORGES, 7 p.m.

Oct. 2: Hodgson, 1 p.m.

Oct. 8: Caesar Rodney, 7 p.m.

Oct. 15: MIDDLETOWN, 7 p.m.

Oct. 22: WILLIAM PENN, 7:30 p.m.

Oct. 29: SMYRNA, 7 p.m.

Nov. 5: Dover, 7 p.m.

Nov. 12: Appoquinimink, 7 p.m.

At Saint Mark’s, coach Joe Wright and his staff are looking to get the Spartans into the postseason for the first time since 2014. The team’s record has improved in each of the last three seasons, with their 6-1 mark last season leaving them just short of making a contracted Division II tournament field.

Saint Mark’s is part of the 21-team, three-division Class 2, of which 12 teams will make the playoffs. All 10 of the team’s regular-season games are against fellow Class 2 opponents, beginning Friday against A.I. duPont. They open with four of five at home. The Spartans listed a healthy 56-person roster online, with a mix of experience and youth.

Schedule (Home games in CAPS)

Sept. 3: A.I. DUPONT, 7 p.m.

Sept. 10: Red Lion, 7:30 p.m.

Sept. 17: WOODBRIDGE, 7 p.m.

Sept. 24: NEWARK,  7 p.m.

Oct. 1: CONRAD, 7 p.m.

Oct. 9: Archmere, noon

Oct. 16: Concord, 10:30 a.m.

Oct. 22: DELAWARE MILITARY, 7 p.m.

Oct. 30: Delcastle, 11 a.m.

Nov. 5: McKean, 6 p.m.