When Salesianum and St. Mark's play football tonight at Baynard Stadium, the game will only take a couple of hours. The memories will last a lot longer.
"This is for dominance in Delaware," Sallies coach Bill DiNardo said. "I'm not taking away from any other private or Catholic schools, but this is the two biggest Catholic school teams.
"This is for bragging rights. This goes for the entire year. This goes throughout the football season, the basketball season, the baseball season, through the summer and up until next year. At the Charcoal Pit and McDonald's, this is for bragging rights."
Both teams are 8-1. St. Mark's is ranked second in Division I, while Sallies is ranked third. The No. 2 seed and a first-round bye in the DIAA Division I Football Tournament are on the line.
"This is going to have a state tournament atmosphere to it," DiNardo said. "This is not a state championship game, but it's going to have the atmosphere of a state championship game. In a lot of ways, the crowd might be bigger and the excitement might be greater in this game."
That's why during practice this week, both coaches actually tried to downplay the rivalry.
"You try to not make it bigger than it is," St. Mark's coach John Wilson said. "That kind of takes care of itself once you get out there on the field."
A typical sellout crowd is expected for the 7:30 p.m. kickoff. Some players could get too amped up, leading to things fans may not see the rest of the season.
"I've seen kids handle it like it's their first game," Wilson said. "It really is a different atmosphere when you get out in front of that crowd.
"We had a lineman one year who jumped offside three times, and he was a senior. Once he got settled down, he was OK," he recalled.
"There's a lot of stuff that goes on, both positive and negative, in this game," DiNardo said. "This is a big, pressure-filled game, and you see a lot of mistakes that you don't normally see. And also, kids from both sides step up and become wreckers, guys who just dominate."
The coaches and teams know each other well, and neither plans to go away from what they have done all season. Expect a balanced attack from St. Mark's, and a bruising running game mixed with play-action passing from Sallies.
Salesianum running back and linebacker Troy Reeder has missed the last two games with a foot injury, but has shed a walking boot this week and is questionable for tonight's game. The Spartans have been boosted by the midseason return of running backs Eddie Mendez and T.J. Brown, both of whom were out earlier due to injuries.
"Having those two guys back has definitely made a difference," Wilson said. "They've been able to provide us more consistency in the running game."
Wilson has seen injured players on both sides somehow find a way to play in many past St. Mark's-Sallies games, so he expects to see Reeder tonight if it's at all possible.
"There are going to be four or five plays that make the difference, but you don't know when they will be," Wilson said. "Any play could be the big difference in the game."
Both sides will be talking about those plays at Charcoal Pit and McDonald's until next year.