Saint Marks football team running out on the field photo by Nick Halliday

The Graveyard, Saint Mark’s Spartan Stadium

Nick AlessandriniHeadlines, Schools, Sports

Saint Marks football team running out on the field photo by Nick Halliday

Saint Marks football team running out on the field, photo by Nick Halliday

This summer, the 302 Sports staff is proud to feature some high school football venues where we have been fortunate to broadcast and view games.

Our series of stories continues with the home of the Saint Mark’s Spartans, “The Graveyard at Spartan Stadium.”

The Saint Mark’s Football program has historically been one of the most consistent and successful in the state of Delaware. Saint Mark’s has won 4 Division 1 State Championships, with the most recent coming back in 2010. As the Spartans embark on their journey in 2023, we take a look at the place they call home.

Few schools in Delaware have the same appeal as the campus on Pike Creek Road. As you turn down the entrance and drive up a winding road, you can begin to see what separates the school from some others in the area. It’s a campus that includes a Soccer, Lacrosse, Baseball, Softball, and Football field. “The Graveyard” gets its name from being in close proximity to All Saint’s Cemetary, which is directly next to the field. After winning the State Championship for the first time since 1978 in 2010, changes were on the way. Due to an issue with the cemetery, it took the Spartans until 2011 to get lights put in so they could play night games at home. That same year the school installed a new Bermuda grass playing field, improving the stadium on numerous fronts. The debut night game in Saint Mark’s football history took place back on October 15, 2011, a game I was fortunate enough to be a part of.

Now the Spartans have returned to Class 3A (Div 1) and are looking to find their way back on top with the help of that home crowd. “The Graveyard” features a large hill on the north side of the field that allows for a huge crowd to have a unique viewing experience. There are bleachers on both the home and visitor sides, with the larger section belonging to the home team. The concession stand contains great choices, including the Chik Fil A chicken sandwich, and a variety of drinks and snacks.

The Spartans also provide everything you need for a fall Friday game night. The multiple-time State Champion Saint Mark’s Cheerleading squad and a fantastic Spartan band help set the mood and get the crowd going. Warm-up music over the sound system for pregame gets the crowd involved as well, building the hype early before kickoff. Not to mention one of the best public address announcers in the state in Brian Ratasiewicz, who always keeps the crowd informed and entertained. Not to mention the Spartan entrance, which has the players lined up in two rows as they walk down the hill in the dark for pre-game warmups. A unique tradition and one that is cool to see.

With the lights for the last 10 years, Saint Mark’s has put itself in the discussion for the best environment for a football game. They have great spectating areas, a huge parking lot, fantastic food and entertainment. Having broadcast games at “The Graveyard” for the last couple of years I can say it’s one of the better, more unique viewing experiences in Delaware.

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