BERLIN- While Stephen Decatur’s varsity football team narrowly missed the state Class 2A playoffs last year, the Seahawks face a more difficult task to reach the post season and play for a potential state championship this year with the move to Class 3A.
The Seahawks open their 2007 campaign tonight at home against Washington, a small school from Somerset County that Decatur typically handles with ease. Unfortunately, largely because of simple geography, Decatur will continue to play smaller schools on the Lower Shore despite being moved up to Class 3A last fall, which could hurt its chances of making the state playoffs regardless of what happens on the field this season.
The state last fall announced reclassifications of high schools across Maryland and Decatur was moved up to Class 3A based on increased enrollment figures over the last several years. As a result, Decatur is the only school from the Bayside Conference, or anywhere on the Eastern Shore for that matter, in the state’s Class 3A-East region.
The change came too late to make adjustments in this year’s schedule to include Class 3A teams from the other side of the bridge, and Decatur’s commitment to the Bayside Conference will keep them playing Class 2A and 1A schools for the most part, As a result, it could be difficult for the Seahawks to earn enough points to make the Class 3A playoffs no matter how their win-loss record turns out.
Nonetheless, the Seahawks appear armed and ready to take on all comers after an off-season conditioning program and two-a-days for the last few weeks. While Decatur did lose some key players from last year’s 6-4 team, the Seahawks appear to have the talent, if not the experience, to improve on that mark this year.
Decatur will have to get off to a better start than it did last year, when it opened the season with a 1-4 record before winning its last five games. The Seahawks’ opponent in the opener tonight, Washington High, provides the perfect opportunity to get off to a good start. Decatur beat Washington, 41-0, in the second to last game last season and should be able to duplicate that success this year.
After that, Decatur goes out of state to play always tough Indian River before a couple of difficult conference games against Kent Island and Easton. The key part of the Seahawks’ schedule could be a three-game stretch at the end including tough games against Bennett and Wicomico with the usual finale against county rival Snow Hill.