The St. Mark’s Spartans hit a bump in the road last week, falling to Pennsylvania powerhouse Downingtown East 26-21.

On Friday night, they’ll look to bounce back when they travel to Newark to take on the 1-4 Yellow Jackets.

Even though St. Mark’s suffered their first defeat of the season last week, they were able to hang with one of Pennsylvania’s top-ranked teams. The Spartans battled back after falling behind 19-7 to nearly pull off the upset.

While the effort they showed was a huge positive, they also showed versatility on the offensive side of the ball. Throughout the season the Spartans have shown an impressive air-attack led by quarterback Zach Whitehead. And when necessary, they’ve been able to lean on running back T.J. Brown who tallied his second two-score game of the year last week against Downingtown East.

Defensively, the Spartans gave up a season-high 26 points to Downingtown East. Though, they’re still having a tremendous season, keeping opponents to 7 points or less in three of their first four games. And while their performance wasn’t at its best last week, they were still able to keep their team in the game.

This brings us to Friday night’s contest against Newark.

The Yellow Jackets are not the same Newark squad Delaware football fans saw go 10-0 last season. They’re off to a rough 1-4 start, coming into their game against the Spartans on a two game losing streak. 

After two close losses to open the season against Caesar Rodney and William Penn, the Yellow Jackets pulled out a win against Charter. However, they’ve been defeated handily the last two weeks, falling to Appoquinimink 41-7 and 23-6 to the A.I.  du Pont Tigers.

While St. Mark’s would be wise to not underestimate the hardworking Yellow Jackets, the Spartans are the clear favorite.

At 4-1 the Spartans have gotten through the toughest part of their schedule, defeating Sussex Central, Dover and Caesar Rodney.  After Newark, they face Sussex Tech,  and Division II squads Delaware Military Academy and St. Elizabeth. Which puts the Spartans in a great position to stock-pile some wins heading into their season-finale against still undefeated Salesianum.

On Friday night, don’t count on a let-down from the Spartans. They’ve played strong, disciplined football and there’s no reason to believe that won’t continue against Newark. Especially considering how important the next stretch of games could be for the Spartans playoff hopes and positioning.