More Experienced St. Mark’s Looks to Move Up in Tough SPC

Last season, St. Mark’s secured its first winning season since 2017. And the Lions have had a full year to build a solid foundation in head coach Harry Flaherty’s system.

That leaves reason for optimism, even if upward mobility might seem difficult among the larger schools in the SPC, where St. Mark’s hasn’t won a crown since 2008.

“Our guys gave a great effort last year, learning a new system in a hurry,” said Flaherty, who arrived at St. Mark’s last summer. “It’s been nice to have some stability and continuity through an offseason.”

The Lions won all four non-conference games last season but stumbled to a 1-4 mark in divisional play when they allowed more than 40 points per game.

St. Mark’s must replace some playmakers from last season’s roster. However, quarterback Asher Wilburn returns after taking most of the snaps last season. He’s one of three quarterbacks on the roster and the most likely starter.

His top target could be Blake Malouf, who caught 34 passes for 550 yards and five scores a year ago. Sophomore running back Russell Higgins also will be a threat after seeing limited action in 2021 as a freshman.

The defense has more experience, too, led by linebacker Keats Leffel, linemen Grant Warnecke and Henry Estes, and cornerback Hudson Bloom.

“We played a lot of young guys last year,” Flaherty said. “We tried to get people as much experience as possible, and we feel that’s going to pay off in the long run.”

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