BERLIN- Stephen Decatur’s varsity football team inched closer to a berth in the state Class 3A-East playoffs last week, beating a scrappy North Caroline team, 37-28, to improve to 6-3 on the season.
North Caroline gave the Seahawks everything they could handle last Friday in the second to last game of the season, but Decatur got on a big roll in the second half, scoring on four straight possessions, to pull away and secure the win. With one game remaining on the regular season schedule, the Seahawks currently sit in fourth place in the state’s Class 3A-East standings.
The top four teams in each region, based on the state’s complicated point system, advance to the state playoffs, and with a home game tonight against county rival Snow Hill remaining, the Seahawks are in fourth place with 58 total points. Decatur could improve its position with a win tonight against the Eagles, but a loss could drop them from playoff contention for the second straight year.
Wilde Lake leads the Class 3A-East standings with 80 total points, but after that, there is only five points separating second from fifth place in the standings. Fallston is second with 62 points, followed by Howard (59) and Decatur (58). Lurking just behind, however, is Long Reach with 57 points. A win could conceivably move the Seahawks into second or third place in the standings, but Long Reach could slip by Decatur for the fourth spot if it falters.
Of course, Decatur could have found itself on the outside looking in if it didn’t take care of business last week against North Caroline, and for a while the Bulldogs gave the Seahawks fits. Decatur scored first on a 27-yard touchdown pass from Tim Donnelly to Andrew Brickey, but North Caroline had the answer. The Seahawks scored again on a 26-yard halfback option pass from Brickey to Paul Stortini with time running down in the third quarter to take a 14-13 lead into halftime.
North Caroline scored on its first possession of the second half to take the lead at 20-14, but the Seahawks scored on their next four possessions to pull away and take the lead at 37-20. North Caroline added a late score to cut the lead to single digits at 37-28, but Decatur held on for the big win.
Next up is Snow Hill, which is always a battle regardless of which team is having an up or down season. Snow Hill suspended several starters because of rules violations, but the Eagles are always dangerous, especially with a potential state playoff berth for the Seahawks on the line. The game is at Seahawk Stadium tonight at 7 p.m.