Decatur Loss Tightens Playoff Hopes

BERLIN- Stephen Decatur’s varsity football team stumbled somewhat last week, dropping a tough one to visiting James M. Bennett, 34-24, last Thursday to put its playoff hopes in a more tenuous position.

The Seahawks had no trouble moving the ball against the Clippers with the high-powered aerial attack led by quarterback Tim Donnelly. Donnelly threw for 285 yards and three touchdowns, but Decatur had trouble stopping Bennett’s ground game and fell to the Clippers, 34-24.

The loss dropped Decatur’s record to 4-3 on the season and heightened the importance of each game from here on out. Because Decatur was moved to the state’s Class 3A division last year based on increased enrollment, the Seahawks’ post-season fate is now tied more to teams on the western shore than its traditional rivals in the Bayside Conference.

The top four teams in the state’s Class 3A-East division will make the playoffs and Decatur is currently in fourth. The Seahawks were sitting in third place in the standings prior to last Thursday’s loss to Bennett, but the outcome of the game dropped them into fourth place.

Based on the points system, Wilde Lake, at 7-0, sits on top with 63 points. Fallston (5-2) is in second with 48 points, while Howard (also 5-2) is in third with 43 points. Decatur at 4-3 currently sits in fourth with 38 points. However, lurking behind the Seahawks is Annapolis (4-3) with 37 points and Long Reach (4-3) with 36 points.

The long and short of it is, Decatur is currently in position to secure a playoff spot and controls its own destiny, but each game from here on out will have a bearing on their post-season fate. Because Decatur plays Eastern Shore schools from Class 2A and 1A, for example, each win is weighted less than the wins of the other teams in the mix for the Class 3A playoffs in terms of points.

The Seahawks play Wicomico High on the road tonight in what would normally be a tough game against a top Bayside opponent, but the Indians are in a down year with a record of 2-5 and are certainly beatable. After that, Decatur plays North Caroline (1-5) on the road before finishing the season at home against heated Worcester County rival Snow Hill in a contest that could decide the post-season for the Seahawks.

The teams closely behind Decatur for the fourth and final playoff spot have a similar finishing schedule. Annapolis, currently one point behind Decatur, has three games left against opponents with a combined record of 9-12. Meanwhile, Long Reach, currently two points behind Decatur, finishes with three opponents whose combined record is 4-17.