To be a champion, nothing comes easy. And more than not, every championship team has a signature win on their way toward the top of the mountain.
In a few weeks some may look back at Dover's 28-24 come-from-behind victory over St. Mark's in the opening round of the DIAA state football tournament Friday night as the Senators' signature win.
Dover came back from ten points down in the fourth quarter to shock the Spartans and advance to the state semifinals next week against Salesianum.
In something truly out of Friday Night Lights, the Senators victory Friday night was full of drama.
Dover trailed at half time 14-7 after giving up a late half touchdown to the Spartans in which St. Mark's drove down the field methodically and converted a two-point attempt with just seconds to go in the second quarter.
The Senator offense continued to be stymied by the Spartan defense in the third, while also giving up another score to fall behind by two touchdowns, 21-7.
In the fourth, the Senators had cut the Spartan lead to 10 at 24-14 after trading a touchdown and a field goal in the stanza. However, while the Senators had slowly cut into St. Mark's lead, time was running out fast and they were still down two scores.
With just under five minutes to play, Dover signal caller Nick Spadafino found wide-out and favorite target Tavarus Sample for a 25-yard score to bring the Senators to within a field goal.
In the most important series of the season, the Dover defense stepped up to the plate and held St. Mark's to give the ball back to their offense with time to spare.
This time it was the Spartan defense that needed to step up, and they were able to force the Senators into a fourth and 11 with the season on the line. Unfortunately for the Spartans they had a break down in coverage allowing Raekwon Bouges to get free. Spadafino hit is wide open receiver who ended up with the ball and the first down inside the Spartan five-yard line.
Just a few plays later Marcellus Pack rammed in a one-yard score giving Dover the lead with 34 seconds left in the game.
A bitter loss for St. Mark's, but a victory the Senators will never forget. Certainly, Friday night's victory was fitting for the last game played at their home field before a new one is built next year. However, next week brings on a new challenge, as a date with Salesianum at Baynard Stadium next weekend for a chance to play for the state championship awaits.