(Oct. 29, 2021) In front of hundreds of fans, the Stephen Decatur football team went on a 42-point run on its way to a 49-28 victory over the Easton Warriors during its Homecoming game last Friday in Berlin.
“It was a great win. It was awesome,” said Decatur Coach Jake Coleman. “The kids were unbelievable and the win was extra special on homecoming. It was an outstanding way to cap off a special Homecoming Week.”
Easton scored first, about four minutes into the game. Decatur answered with 2:35 left in the first quarter when sophomore Brycen Coleman caught a 59-yard pass from senior quarterback Ashten Snelsire. Sophomore Brogan Eastlack’s kick was good.
Easton pulled ahead 20-7 in the second quarter.
Sophomore Gavin Solito scored, then Eastlack was successful for the extra point 4:41 before halftime.
With three minutes to play, junior Logan Bradshaw intercepted an Easton pass, which started the momentum shift in Decatur’s favor. Shortly after, Coleman caught a 39-yard pass from Snelsire. Eastlack then hit the extra point with 2:08 on the clock, to put Decatur on top, 21-20.
“Once we started coming back the crowd really got into the game and it was tough to overcome for Easton. We really appreciate the support,” Coach Coleman said. “The crowd was into it and the kids were locked in. They were pumped up. We were down 20-7 then we were up 21-20 and I think that shell-shocked Easton. Then it was 28-20.”
Junior Luke Mergott’s 18-yard interception return and Eastlack’s kick increased the Seahawks’ advantage to 28-20, with 1:37 remaining in the half.
Senior Joe Buxbaum picked off an Easton pass and ran it 92 yards for a touchdown with 7:48 on the clock in the third quarter. Eastlack’s kick was good to make it 35-20.
“We made some adjustments and went out in the second half and then Joe Buxbaum’s 90-plus-yard interception for a touchdown broke their back,” Coleman said.
Snelsire hit Mergott from 39 yards out with 3:45 remaining in the quarter. Eastlack’s kick boosted Decatur’s lead to 42-20.
Senior Zimere Handy scored in the fourth quarter, which was followed by Eastlack’s successful extra point.
Easton put eight points on the board late in the game, but Decatur’s lead was too large to come back from.
“We’ve been down 14 points four times this year and we’ve come back and tied it or took the lead,” Coleman said. “The kids just never give up. The game was a microcosm of the season. We had a gut check and had to rally together. We’ve finished strong.”
Snelsire was 21-for-29 passing for 260 yards.
“Ashten had another phenomenal game. He’s just so clutch,” Coleman said. “He leads the state in passing yards. He’s just unbelievable.”
Coleman caught seven passes for 120 yards. Mergott tallied 53 yards on three catches. Eastlack was 7-for-7 on extra points.
Senior Kresen Muir led the defense with 15 tackles (eight solo/seven assists). Buxbaum made nine tackles (five solo/four assists). Solito recorded seven tackles (four solo/three assists).
“The defense really played lights out,” Coleman said. “I challenged the defense. We knew we needed to play as a unit to stop Kevin O’Connor, their quarterback. We put pressure on him and we had to do it together.”
The big victory was a bonus for the postseason.
“The win has shot us up in the running for a home playoff game,” Coleman said. “It would be the first home playoff game in 16 years. That’s a big deal.”
Decatur will battle its cross-county rival, the Snow Hill Eagles, in Snow Hill tonight, Friday, at 6 p.m. in its last game of the regular season.