football 111921

(Left) Stephen Decatur sophomore Gavin Solito holds tight onto the ball while being tackled by a Wicomico player during last Friday’s 2A East Region semifinals in Salisbury. Decatur won, 30-27. (Right) Decatur sophomore Brogan Eastlack was 3-for-3 on extra points and was also successful on three field goals, the last kick being the one to give his team a 30-27 lead over Wicomico with 13 seconds left in last Friday’s game in Salisbury.

(Nov. 19, 2021) The Stephen Decatur football team edged out the Wicomico Indians, 30-27, last Friday in Salisbury to advance to the 2A state quarterfinal round.

“It was a great win. We had unbelievable resilience,” said Decatur Coach Jake Coleman. “It was win or go home and they rose together as a team. We have such a close-knit group of guys that really play for one another.”

Playing in front of more than 3,000 spectators, the third-seeded Seahawks didn’t start off the way they wanted to, as Wicomico returned an interception for a touchdown on the first play of the game. The extra-point kick was blocked by Decatur.

On Decatur’s next drive, senior quarterback Ashten Snelsire found sophomore Brycen Coleman for the score with eight minutes left in the first quarter. Sophomore Brogan Eastlack’s kick was good.

With two minutes remaining in the first quarter, Eastlack was successful on a 26-yard field goal attempt to put the Berlin squad on top, 10-6.

The second-seeded Indians pulled ahead, 12-10, two minutes into the second quarter. With seven minutes to play before halftime, Snelsire threw a 40-yard pass to junior Luke Mergott for a touchdown. Eastlack made the extra point.

At halftime, Decatur led, 17-12.

Wicomico scored with just under eight minutes left in the third quarter, to gain a 20-17 advantage. With about a minute left in the third, Eastlack hit a 44-yard field goal to tie the game, 20-20.

“It was a bomb. In practice I’ve seen him kick 55 yarders, so we knew he had it in him,” Coleman said. “He’s got incredible talent.”

The Indians got back on top with 10 minutes remaining in the game, 27-20.

Sophomore Gavin Solito’s touchdown and Eastlack’s kick evened it back up, 27-all, with six minutes on the clock.

Solito intercepted the ball with about four minutes left in the game and Decatur proceeded to work the ball down the field. With about 13 second left, Eastlack hit a 26-yard field goal to give Decatur a 30-27 lead, and the victory.

“We have so much confidence in Brogan,” Coleman said. “When we got down there we tried to drain the clock. It was all about positioning the ball where he likes to kick it.

“I’ve known him since he was 10 years old and he’s built for these moments,” the coach continued. “I told him to go out and do the best he can, to keep his head down, kick the ball straight and as hard as he can. He went out there and buried it. It was a surreal moment. He made the kick and everyone celebrated.”

Decatur avenged the 47-41 regular-season loss on Sept. 24 to Wicomico in Berlin.

Snelsire was 23-for-46 passing for 306 yards.

Solito caught eight passes for 90 yards. Mergott racked up 79 yards on three catches. Senior Zimere Handy recorded 96 yards rushing 17 times.

“They handled being behind in the second half. We have so many clutch players. There were so many clutch performances,” Coach Coleman said. “The offensive line did a great job, we played perfect on special teams [and] defense was outstanding – some big interceptions, huge fumble recovery, and limiting their big players was huge.”

Senior Marqui Henry Jr. was tasked with guarding Wicomico’s all-state receiver, Jayce Freeman.

“He went everywhere he went. He held him to zero catches. He shut him out,” Coleman said.

Coleman said the team and coaching staff was appreciative of the fan support.

“The Stephen Decatur community completely packed the stadium. It felt like a Decatur home game,” he said. “Our community took over.”

The remaining eight 2A teams were seeded, with Decatur receiving the No. 8 spot. The Seahawks will battle the No. 1 Huntington Hurricanes, today, Friday, at 7 p.m. in Huntington.

“It will be a tough game. Everyone is good from here on out, but this team can accomplish anything,” Coleman said. “Every week you’re fighting for an opportunity to keep playing. We don’t want this time to end. It’s an honor to play deep into the season.”

Tickets must be purchased in advanced and are only available online at: https://gofan.co/app/events/459226?schoolId=MPSSAA&fbclid=IwAR2Uj3Nv03BuX9PdTxHwx9s4dzkBOzoG8wyz8LytYtJJr_I22A2o5OJUJY.

“We need to support and fight for one another,” Coleman said. “We need to be able to stop the run, we have to run the ball and we’ve got to be great on third down. We need to take care of the football and limit penalties, and special teams have to be flawless.”

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