(Nov. 26, 2021) The 2A MPSSAA state football quarterfinals game between Stephen Decatur and Huntingtown was a battle, with no score through the first and second quarters.
“Defense was outstanding. I can’t say enough about their performance,” said Decatur Coach Jake Coleman. “Those guys were having a shutout first and second quarter, which was huge.”
Playing on their home field, the top-seeded Huntingtown Hurricanes scored first in the third quarter.
Eighth-seeded Decatur evened it up when sophomore Caden Shockley scored from seven yards out. Sophomore Brogan Eastlack’s kick was good.
At the end of the third, Huntingtown led 13-7.
Decatur had two touchdowns called back before the Hurricanes increased their advantage to 28-7 in the fourth quarter.
Senior Zimere Handy put Decatur on the board again, with a 95-yard kickoff return. Eastlack made the extra point.
The home team held off the Seahawks and won the game, 28-14.
“We had a chance to win. We said we needed to stop the run, we needed to run the football, which we did. We didn’t do well with penalties and turnovers,” Coleman said.
Decatur senior quarterback Ashten Snelsire was 21-for-42 passing for 232 yards.
Junior Luke Mergott caught six passes for 109 yards. Senior Marqui Henry Jr. tallied 53 yards on four catches.
Senior Kresen Muir led the Decatur defense with 12 tackles (nine solo, three assists). Senior Jerry Grant made seven tackles (four solo, three assists).
“The kids really brought it. It was a tremendous effort until the end of the game,” Coleman said. “The score wasn’t indicative of how good this team is. I’m so proud of the kids. I just couldn’t ask for any more.”
With the season over, Coleman said many of the Seahawks, as well as the coaching staff, missed not having practice on Monday.
“The secret to the season was that everyone liked being around each other, they enjoyed practice and there was such camaraderie. That’s something special,” Coleman said.
Decatur finished the regular season with a 6-3 record.
The Seahawks then topped Queen Anne’s, 42-6, in the 2A East Region quarterfinals, in Berlin, their first home playoff game in 17 years. It was Decatur’s first victory over Queen Anne’s since 2012. It was also the first playoff win for the Seahawks since 2005.
The Berlin squad then edged out Wicomico, 30-27, in the regional semifinals to advance to the 2A state round of eight.
Both Queen Anne’s and Wicomico beat Decatur during the regular season.
“It was a special season. Without the lows, we wouldn’t have reached the highs,” Coleman said. “It’s something to look back on and have good memories.”
Decatur finished the season with an 8-4 overall record and as Bayside South champions.
“The coaches did a good job preparing the kids,” Coleman said. “The kids got better every day.”
Coleman recorded his 100th win this season when the Seahawks topped Parkside, 42-21, on Oct. 2. He finished the season with 105 career wins.
Decatur had the most players in the conference earn First Team selections.
Snelsire scored a spot on the first team for quarterback. He was also unanimous selected as the Offensive Player of the Year. It is the second year he’s received the award.
It was also the second consecutive season he led the state in passing (2,283 yards regular season nine games). He finished the year with 3,036 yards passing (12 games).
Also scoring a spot on the First Team were: Mergott (tight end, outside linebacker), junior Logan Bradshaw (special teams), Henry (cornerback, wide receiver), sophomore Brycen Coleman (wide receiver), Handy (slot), senior Luke Scott (offensive line), Grant (defensive tackle), Muir (defensive specialist) and Eastlack (kicker).
Second team accolades went to: Bradshaw (safety) and junior Daegan Risser (inside linebacker).
Honorable mention accolades went to: seniors Logan Tapman (OL), RJ Brittingham (DB), Joe Buxbaum (DE), Austin Airey (OLB), Muir (TE) and Mike Rayne (DT), and Shockley (RB), and sophomore Gavin Solito (DB).
Coleman wants to thank fans for their support. Home games drew hundreds of spectators and even matches on the road were well attended by Seahawk fans.
The squad will lose 13 players to graduation, all of whom contributed in one way or another.
“They’re all very, very special,” Coleman said. “We will have a core group returning next year. We have some good underclassmen. We have a bunch of guys returning that are all-conference players.”
The JV team was also successful this year, going 8-1, Coleman said.
The coaching staff will have about eight months to develop players for next season, the coach said.
“Hopefully, it will lead to some good things. There will be some big shoes to fill,” Coleman said.