The Cape Henlopen football team will ride the big yellow taxi to Saint Mark’s Friday, Nov. 16, for a 7:30 p.m. DIAA Division I opening-round football game. The contest between the two 8-2 teams marks Cape's first appearance in the postseason since 1998.
The Spartans lost game 5 by a 26-21 margin to Downingtown East Oct. 5, then lost in the final week to Salesianum 7-2. Saint Mark’s averages 24 points a game while giving up 11.
Conversely, Cape has averaged 34 points a game while giving up 14.
Saint Mark’s has four wins over Henloopen Conference teams including Sussex Central 7-0, Dover 31-7, Caesar Rodney 21-14 and Sussex Tech 35-13.
“We have changed the football culture around here,” said Cape coach Bill Collick, who is also the discipline dean of the high school. “It really is hard to believe it’s been since 1998 that Cape has been in the postseason.”
It’s been 30 years since a Jim Alderman-coached Cape team beat Newark in 1982 at Cape in the first round of the state tournament, 15-14, when John Lane was stopped on a 2-point conversion to end the game.
Cape went on to lose to William Penn in the state final game.
Cape was back in the state final in 1984 with a record of 10-1 and lost to Newark.
The lone state championship for Cape football came in the 1979 season.
Cape has enjoyed no luck against the Spartans in their sporadic history of competition. There have been blowouts and some games decided in the final minutes, but Cape has never won.
Sussex Central will play at Caesar Rodney at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 17. Top two seeds Middletown and Salesianum received first-round byes in the Division I tournament.
The Division II tournament has eight teams, and there are no first-round byes. Indian River will host Howard at 7:30 p.m., Friday, Nov. 16. St. Georges Tech will play Archmere at Caravel at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 17.
Caravel will host St. Elizabeth’s at 7:30 p.m., Friday, Nov. 16. Hodgson will host Delaware Military Academy at 11 a.m., Saturday, Nov. 17.