football

(April 23, 2021) The Stephen Decatur football team closed a successful season with a 48-7 victory over the Snow Hill Eagles last Friday in Berlin.

“The kids played great. I’m going to miss this group of seniors and I am looking forward to seeing these underclassmen take the reins,” said Decatur Coach Jake Coleman. “This senior group of Ryan Geppi, Domon Purnell, Devin Pilarski, Chase Pillsbury, Brett Truitt, Rafe Parsons, Dylan Arnold and Koby Higgins should be extremely proud for laying the foundation for the future of Seahawk football. I wouldn’t change anything about this season and I am glad we went through it together.”

Junior quarterback Ashten Snelsire kicked things off with a 15-yard touchdown pass to junior Zimere Handy. Freshman Caden Shockley was successful on the two-point conversion.

Sophomore Luke Mergott intercepted the ball and ran it 37 yards for a touchdown and Higgins added two points to give Decatur a 16-0 lead in the first quarter.

Shockley scored on a 16-yard run, which was followed by Arnold’s extra two points.

Truitt made it 30-0, then junior RJ Brittingham added two points to boost Decatur’s advantage to 32-0 at halftime.

The two repeated their performance in the third, and the Seahawks led 40-0 at the end of the quarter.

Junior Jack Quisgard carried the ball one yard for the touchdown in the fourth quarter. Sophomore Derron Doughty’s two-point conversion made it 48-0.

Snow Hill scored seven points later in the quarter.

Snelsire was 15-for-22, passing for 185 yards and three touchdowns.

Shockley rushed 54 yards on eight carries. Quisgard racked up 48 yards on five carries.

Handy caught five passes for 91 yards and Higgins three for 41 yards.

Junior Logan Tapman led the Decatur defense with eight tackles and two sacks. Mergott had four tackles and a Pick 6 interception.

Decatur adjusted well playing its shortened season from February to April, rather than August to early November, because of covid. Coleman said the coaching staff and players were just happy to be able to play.

And not only did they perform on the field, but in the classroom as well. Coleman was excited to report that of the 36 players on the team, 24 earned Minds in Motion awards for a GPA of 3.25 or higher. Sixteen players got straight As.

“That’s pretty impressive,” he said. “I’ve never coached or been on a team that’s had more than one or two.”

Decatur finished with a 5-2 record and first place in the Bayside South Conference. Coleman said he enjoyed his first season as head coach and “wouldn’t change it for the world.”

“I think this season was all about the love of the game, so the record would not of matter to me. I’m glad we were able to give an enjoyable experience to this group of seniors. I look forward to the future.”

Decatur will graduate a number of influential players, but many underclassmen also gained varsity experience this year. Coleman said five freshmen and seven sophomores started this year, so he expects the team to be strong next season.

“This team is young, and we have a great group of juniors that will be seniors next year,” Coleman said.

If things continue to progress and pending covid restrictions, the Seahawks will be back on the field in four short months.

“We told the kids they have 120 days to get themselves ready for the fall,” Coleman said. “I think we’ll have a team that’s pretty formidable. We’re battle tested now and they know what it takes.”

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