BERLIN- After narrowly missing the state playoffs last year despite an impressive 6-4 campaign, the Stephen Decatur varsity football team will likely have to come up with one or two more big wins to make it to the post-season in its second year in Class 3A.
The Seahawks open their 2008 campaign tonight on the road against Washington High, a small school in Somerset County that Decatur typically handles with ease. Unfortunately, due largely to simple geography, Decatur will continue to play smaller schools on the Lower Shore despite being moved up to the state’s Class 3A last year, which will continue to make it difficult for the Seahawks to reach the post-season.
Decatur was moved up to Class 3A last year based on enrollment figures, becoming the first school on the Eastern Shore to make the jump. However, the Seahawks’ commitment to the Bayside Conference and the practicality of playing 2A and 1A schools on the shore from the standpoint of simple geography and natural rivalries, will likely continue to make it difficult to advance.
It happened last year when the Seahawks found themselves watching the scoreboard late in the season for schools like Hammond and Atholton, for example, and not their traditional rivals in the Bayside Conference. As it turned out, Decatur lost to county rival Snow Hill in double overtime in its season finale, allowing Atholton to secure the last playoff spot in the Class 3A-East region.
So, Decatur will likely have to come up with an extra win somewhere along the way this year to avoid being left out again, but it won’t be easy. Because the points system is weighted with less credit given to wins over opponents in lower classes, the Seahawks will have to maximize every opportunity.
It gets started tonight with a road game against Washington, which Decatur thrashed last year by the score of 58-0. The schedule gets a lot tougher next week when the Seahawks host traditional Delaware powerhouse Indian River in the home opener in a rare non-conference game. Decatur fell to the Indians, 42-16, last year.
After Indian River, the Seahawks get into the meat of their Bayside Conference schedule with a home game against Kent Island before what should be their stiffest test of the year against Easton on the road. Looming on the schedule beyond that big match-up is a home game with always tough Queen Anne’s and road games with Parkside and Wicomico. The Seahawks finish the regular season with its annual showdown with Snow Hill, which could determine their post-season fate.