BERLIN- Stephen Decatur’s varsity football team took a tough loss last weekend, falling to visiting North Caroline, 20-19, in a game of missed opportunities and a hard lesson learned.
The Seahawks led early, watched North Caroline score 20 unanswered points, and made a furious late comeback attempt before turning it over in Bulldogs’ territory with the clock running down. Along the way, Decatur turned the ball over, missed a couple of crucial extra points and learned a valuable lesson about playing the entire 60 minutes.
Decatur took a 7-0 lead about halfway through the first quarter on a three-yard run by Delonte Tate, but that was the only score for the Seahawks for a long stretch of the game. North Caroline scored about halfway through the second quarter, but the extra point attempt failed and the Seahawks took a 7-6 lead into halftime.
On it first possession of the third quarter, Decatur drove to the North Caroline two-yard-line, but turned it over on downs after an attempt to push it in on fourth and goal. Energized by the defensive stop, North Caroline went on a meticulous 98-yard drive to take its first lead of the game at 13-7. After a Tate fumble on the next possession, the Bulldogs took advantage of the short field and scored on a 19-yard run to extend its lead to 20-7.
Decatur was far from finished, however. Tate scored from two yards out with just over 10 minutes left in the game to cut the North Caroline lead to 20-13, but the extra point attempt failed. About four minutes later, Decatur’s John Rich scored from four yards out to cut the lead to 20-19, but again, the Seahawks could not convert the crucial extra point.
With just about two minutes left in the game, Decatur took over on its own 19-yard-line with one last opportunity to snatch a late victory, and for a while, it appeared the Seahawks could pull it off. Decatur drove to the Bulldogs’ 35-yard line with about 30 seconds left, but quarterback Tyler Hartrim was hit from behind and fumbled with possession going over to North Caroline and the game ended with a disappointing one-point loss for the Seahawks.
With a couple of missed extra points, turning the ball over on downs from the two-yard-line in the third and the fumble to end the last minute drive, if just one or two plays went the other way, the Seahawks would have improved to 3-0. A Decatur assistant coach said after the game the overriding lesson for the players was the need to play hard for the entire game and not take plays, or even series, off.