BERLIN- Stephen Decatur’s varsity football team’s magical run to a potential state championship ended last weekend with a 40-33 loss to juggernaut Milford Mill Academy in the semifinals.
Decatur enjoyed a remarkable season, perhaps the best in decades for the Berlin high school and finished with a 10-3 record. The Seahawks cruised through their first two state 2A playoff games at home, beating C. Milton Wright, 45-13, and North Caroline, 43-27.
Decatur then went on the road to face a tough Potomac team in the state quarterfinals and rolled to an impressive 36-7 win. That set up last Friday’s highly-anticipated showdown with top-seeded Milford Mill Academy and the deck appeared to be stacked against the Seahawks. Milford Mill came in undefeated and had beaten its three opponents in the state playoffs by scores of 67-0, 55-0, and 20-7.
It was clearly a tall task for Decatur but the Seahawks entered the game loose and on a roll of their own. The game ultimately came down to the final minutes and could have gone either way but in the end, Milford Mill prevailed on a late touchdown and two-point conversion. The loss did little to tarnish what was otherwise a remarkable season for the Seahawks.
Decatur took an early 7-0 lead on a touchdown pass from Brycen Coleman to Gavin Solito. Milford Mill answered
quickly with a rushing touchdown and the first quarter ended in a 7-7 tie. Coleman then connected with Luke Mergott on a touchdown pass on fourth down to take a 14-7 lead. Milford Mill answered with another rushing touchdown but missed the extra point and the first half ended with Decatur leading 14-13.
Milford Mill scored first in the third quarter with a touchdown to take a 19-14 lead. Decatur responded with 11 straight points, including a field goal by Brogan Eastlack, a rushing touchdown by Mergott and a safety by the special teams on a bad snap on a punt by Milford Mill to take a 25-19 lead at the end of the third quarter.
Milford Mill scored first in the fourth quarter with a pair of touchdowns to take a 32-25 lead. Undaunted, the underdog Seahawks marched right back down the field and scored on a touchdown by Mergott to take a 33-32 lead.
Milford Mill would not be denied, however, and went on a long, time-consuming drive to retake the lead. A two-point conversion by the Millers put them ahead for good at 40-33. With time running out, the Seahawks tried to patch together one last drive, but the clock, and the magical season by Decatur, timed out with Milford Mill holding on for the 40-33 win.
Coleman completed 26 passes on 53 attempts for 320 yards and two touchdowns. Coleman also ran 16 times for 77 yards. Mergott carried the ball just three times for four yards, but two of his carries resulted in touchdowns. Mergott also caught five passes for 70 yards including a touchdown. He ended the day with three touchdowns.
Gavin Solito caught 10 passes for 125 yards including a touchdown. Logan Bradshaw caught four passes for 70 yards including a 37-yarder, while Evan Copeland caught three passes for 49 yards.