WILMINGTON – Six yards and less than 30 seconds stood between St. Mark's and a chance to tie Friday night's game vs. Dover, but four pass attempts by the Spartans were unsuccessful, and the Senators headed home with a 20-12 nonconference win.
St. Mark's final chance, a pass from Zach Whitehead to Matthew Williams, was knocked out of Williams' hands, falling to the grass. The Spartans lost for the first time this year, dropping to 3-1, while Dover improved to 3-1.
Dover took a 14-10 lead into halftime, and that's where the teams stood until the Senators scored on a 1-yard touchdown run by Raekwon Bouges with 8:44 left in the game. The snap for the extra point was fumbled, making the lead 20-10. The lead appeared safe after the next St. Mark's drive ended at the Senators' 4-yard line when Markquise Normand was stopped on fourth and two.
St. Mark's was given a lifeline a few plays later, however, when Senators quarterback Triston Harris fumbled a snap in the end zone and was tackled for a safety. St. Mark's T.J. Brown returned the ensuing free kick to the Dover 47, and with 3:46 remaining, the stage was set for the last-minute dramatics. Several running plays and a few penalties later, the Spartans were inside the 10, but they could not find the end zone on four passes.
Dover jumped out to an impressive start, taking a 7-0 lead just three plays and 65 seconds into the contest. The Senators started from their own 20-yard line, and one run and one penalty later, faced a second down and 10 from the 20. Marcellus Pack took the ball over the left tackle, and 80 yards later he was standing in the Spartans' end zone.
The Spartans got on the board on a drive that started at the Dover 12 following an errant snap over the Senators' punter's head. Three running plays later, it was fourth down and two yards to go. Jeffrey Richards was summoned and drilled a 21-yard field goal.
After Dover missed a field goal attempt of its own, the Spartans took possession and drove for what would be its only lead of the night. The 16-play, 80-yard drive culminated with a 1-yard scoring run by Brendan Fogarty; the extra point made the score 10-7. The long drive included runs of 14 yards by Whitehead on third and 9; a 12-yard scamper for Brown on a read-option play; a 6-yard run by Brown on fourth down to keep the drive alive; and another 12-yarder for Brown during which he carried several defenders with him for the last five yards.
Dover responded with an 80-yard march of its own, 53 of which came on a run by Bouges, taking the ball to the Spartans' 20. Pack put the Senators back on top with 4:28 left in the second on an 8-yard run. Dover held a 14-10 lead at the half.
Bouges' touchdown, giving Dover the 20-10 lead, was set up by an interception by Devlin Locklin at his own 30-yard line. He returned the ball 67 yards to the Spartans' 3. St. Mark's defense held for three plays, but Bouges found an opening on fourth down for his team's final points.
St. Mark's stays home next week when Delaware Military Academy visits Friday night at 7 p.m. Dover also plays Friday, at Sussex Tech at 7:30 p.m.