Seahawk Playoff Hopes Alive

BERLIN- Stephen Decatur’s varsity football team trounced visiting North Caroline, 38-0, to keep its state playoff hopes alive, but the Seahawks will need to beat county rival Snow Hill on the road tonight in the season finale and hope for a little help from a remote source to reach the post-season this year.

Decatur left nothing the chance last Friday against North Caroline, beating the visitors in every phase of the game to improve to 6-3 on the season. However, even with the impressive victory, the Seahawks are still on the outside looking in for the fourth and final playoff spot in the Class 3A-East region. Based on the state’s elaborate point system, the top four teams in each region make the playoffs, and even with the win over North Caroline last week, the Seahawks are currently in fifth place in the Class 3A-East standings.

Decatur now has 55 total points and trails fourth-place Atholton, which has 59 total points, for the fourth and final playoff spot. While Decatur tangles with old rival Snow Hill tonight, Atholton will place Hammond in its season finale. Hammond, just 1-8 on the season, will likely have to upset Atholton for the Seahawks to make the playoffs.

The circumstances are eerily similar to last season for the Seahawks, who entered the season finale with Snow Hill needing a little help from elsewhere to make the playoffs. Decatur held up its end, beating Snow Hill, 13-7, but was left on the playoff sidelines when Southern of Anne Arundel County sneaked passed them for the fourth and final playoff spot in the Class 2A-East Region. Southern finished with 62 total points while Decatur finished eight points behind at 54.

Decatur has always played Snow Hill in the last game of the regular season and the rivalry has produced some classics over the years. This year should be no different with Decatur at 6-3 and Snow Hill at 7-2. Decatur beat Snow Hill last year, 13-7, but neither team had gained the upper hand in recent years.

In 2005, the Eagles’ Bennie Tate, who transferred to Snow Hill after two huge years at Decatur, guaranteed a victory against his old school and then backed it up with three touchdowns against the Seahawks in a 26-13 win. Tate now plays for NCAA powerhouse Auburn in the Southeast Conference.

Tate was right in the middle of the 2004 meeting between Decatur and Snow Hill, but was wearing a Seahawk uniform. Decatur trailed 18-15 late in the game against Snow Hill when Tate took a pitch from quarterback Bobby Hammond. Everyone on the field and in the stands thought Tate would run the ball, but he pulled up and threw a perfect touchdown pass to a wide-open Brett Shank to give the Seahawks the last minute win. Prior to those dramatic contests, Decatur had Snow Hill’s number, beating the Eagles, 41-0, in 2003 and 42-8 in 2002.