BRANDYWINE HUNDRED — Saint Mark’s used a strong running game, scoring four touchdowns on the ground in a 35-7 win over Concord in a Class 2A District 1 football game on Oct. 16. The Spartans improved to 5-2 with the win and solidified their already positive postseason ambitions.
The Spartans were able to overcome turnover problems in the first half, when they lost three fumbles and one interception. On their other possessions, their offense proved too much for the Raiders’ defense.
They took advantage of Concord’s own turnover issues to get on the board late in the first half. Taking over at the Raiders’ 47 after recovering a fumble, Saint Mark’s embarked on their first scoring drive. The big play on the drive came on fourth down and four from the Concord 41, when quarterback Jack Burns — stepping in for the injured Chase Patalano — hit Matt Hanich while rolling right, and it became a 32-yard pickup. Hanich wrapped up the drive on the next play, rumbling the final nine yards over right tackle for the 7-0 lead with 2:44 left in the first.
The Spartans held the Raiders to a three and out after that, and they took over on their own 42 in the final minute of the first. Saint Mark’s moved the ball steadily and the ball in the red zone, but an interception ended that drive. Concord, however, fumbled the ball right back to the visitors three plays later, giving the Spartans the ball at the Raiders’ 14.
After no gain on first down, Logan Klein boomed up the middle for a score on second down. That doubled Saint Mark’s advantage.
The Spartans delivered a powerful blow to Concord in the closing seconds of the half. They took possession at their own 46 and went on the move. They picked up 15 yards on two plays, but a spike to stop the clock, an incompletion and a holding penalty resulted in fourth and 15 from the Concord 43 with about 20 seconds left in the half. Burns lofted a screen pass to Hanich, and, following several linemen, the running back covered the rest of the real estate for a touchdown with 8 seconds left until halftime.
Concord’s turnover problems continued into the second half. The Raiders took the second-half kickoff, but on their second play from scrimmage, Jabri White made a leaping interception and returned it about 40 yards to the Raiders’ 9. Klein made it a one-play drive with a run over left tackle to increase the Saint Mark’s lead to 28-0.
A short punt by the Raiders on their next drive set the Spartans up at the Concord 30. Hanich picked up 11 yards on first down, and Luke Najera did the rest, going around left end for the Spartans’ final touchdown with 6:41 to go in the third.
Concord would add their lone touchdown in the fourth.
The Spartans are home next Friday at 7 p.m. to battle undefeated Delaware Military Academy. Concord (2-3) plays its fifth consecutive home game next Saturday against Delcastle at 10:30 a.m.
All photos by Jason Winchell.