The Delaware Live stadium tour continues to Wilmington and Abessinio Stadium, home of Salesianum School (and a few others).
Abessinio is the newest venue on the list, but it has quickly earned a stellar reputation as a fun place to watch a game.
Abessinio opened to great fanfare in 2020 on the site of the former Baynard Stadium. Salesianum lost to Smyrna that night, but since then the Sals have gone 8-3 on their home turf, including a state tournament win in 2021.
The stadium also has been the site of other memorable tournament football games, including two on consecutive weekends in 2021: an overtime win for Wilmington Friends against Delmar, followed by a narrow victory for Archmere over Delaware Military Academy.
The obvious attraction at Abessinio is its newness.
The turf is in great shape. The other parts of the facility – bleachers, restrooms, concessions, press boxes – are nice.
For any of us who remember trying to get a snack at halftime without missing most of the third quarter, this is much appreciated.
There is a decent amount of parking available at the stadium, but when Sallies is home, if you are not in a spot early on, the best bet is parking at the school and walking over.
One may forget to take in Abessinio’s facade while hurrying inside, but it’s an impressive sight, particularly the statue of former Salesianum coach Dim Montero and the memorial bricks inside the front entrance.
The game experience includes the entrance of the Sals, the marching band and cheerleaders, and the Salesianum student section. They always show up no matter what the weather looks like.
The sidelines seem as busy as the bleachers since the Sals draw as much or more media attention than any other program in the state.
This year, the Sals open Aug. 31 against DMA. It will usher in the Gene Delle Donne era as the former Salesianum quarterback takes the reins at his alma mater. The tough home schedule also includes Smyrna and Middletown.
In addition, Howard and St. Elizabeth play their home games at Abessinio. Both are perennial tournament contenders, so there’s plenty of good football on tap there this season.
If that’s not enough, the Mid-Atlantic Pigskin Classic will bring a few more games to Abessinio Aug. 31-Sept. 2.
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