PIKE CREEK- This past Friday night at St. Mark’s High School was more than just a football game with D-II playoff implications, as (5-3) St. Mark’s looked to keep those playoff dreams alive vs. (4-4) St. Elizabeth. This was the first annual Muscle Movement Foundation (MMF) “Sack Muscle Disease Game.”
MMF was founded by St. Mark’s alumni, Rob DeMasi, to bring awareness to all involved about muscle disease and fight to bring an end to all muscle related diseases. Rob, himself, is a “muscle champion” who was diagnosed with Myasthenia Gravis during his senior year in high school. After being misdiagnosed many times before finally receiving a proper diagnosis, DeMasi fought the disease and “refused to lose” to his condition. A few years later, DeMasi started the Muscle Movement Foundation and has teamed up with high school sports programs all across Delaware and even some local colleges such as Wilmington University and Wesley College to help put an end to muscle disease. Local citizens with various forms of muscle disease, known as “muscle champions,” are supported by these various teams and are a part of game days by rooting their teams on from the sidelines.
On this night, MMF, began a new tradition with the “Sack Muscle Disease Game” between these two supporting programs of the foundation. Muscle champions, Mason Nellius (St. Mark’s), Max French & Mike Smith (St. Elizabeth) lead their teams out on the field for what would turn out to be an exciting game.
St. Elizabeth took advantage of early mistakes by the Spartans and jumped out to a 20-7 lead before St. Mark’s cleaned things up and scored the final 28 points on their way to a 35-20 victory. The Spartans celebrated with “Sack Muscle Disease Game” trophy and kept their playoff dreams alive.
St. Elizabeth sophomore, Ray Jones, took an interception of Spartan quarterback, Billy Sullivan, 28 yards to the house to open the scoring, 7-0.
After the Vikings tacked on another score with a touchdown pass on 4th down, early in the 2nd quarter, to David Hazelton, Billy Sullivan hit David Balint on a touchdown pass with :26 left in the half to lead us to our halftime score, 13-7.
St. Elizabeth started the scoring in the 2nd half with a touchdown run by Hazelton stretched the lead to 20-7 Vikings with 6:12 left in the 3rd quarter. This is where the Spartans began to take over the game.
The Spartans exploded for 28 points in the final 16 minutes of this game, which was helped by a crucial fumble by the Vikings early in the 4th quarter. The Spartans improved to 6-3 on the season while the Vikings fell to 4-5.
After the game, Mason Nellius and DeMasi awarded the Spartans with the trophy as the team celebrated the victory.
Immediately after the game, Rob DeMasi, hosted an event at Tyler Fitzgerald’s for MMF, which included many supporters of the foundation. The event was enjoyed by all, as many St. Mark’s alumni reminisced on old times and prizes were raffled off. The highlight of the event was a passionate speech by DeMasi as he thanked all for supporting the foundation and uttered praise for a few special people. He gave special thanks to former coaches, including Spartan Athletic Director and baseball coach, Matt Smith, and football coach, John Wilson. He ended the speech with an anecdote about his time battling Myasthenia Gravis in the hospital and the love and support he received from his mother, Joyce Hrycak.
Friday night saw a few great things in the Pike Creek area. A competitive, important football game backed by a great cause, and a fantastic event enjoyed by all afterwards.
To support the Muscle Movement Foundation visit: www.musclemovementfoundation.org.