(Nov. 8, 2013) Exciting and exhilarating. That’s how Stephen Decatur football Coach Bob Knox described last Friday’s game in Berlin. The Seahawks came from behind to win 25-24 over the Parkside Rams.
“We clawed and scratched and never gave up,” Knox said.
Parkside scored about a minute and a half into the game. Decatur quarterback Justin Meekins answered just over a minute later, carrying the ball 62 yards for a touchdown. Junior Austin Dundore’s extra-point kick was good.
With 1:36 remaining in the first quarter, Decatur suffered a big loss. Senior P.J. Copes dislocated his left shoulder, which had previously been injured, while making a tackle. He was sidelined the rest of the game.
Parkside scored in the second quarter to lead 14-7 at halftime.
The visiting Rams pulled ahead 21-7 at the 9:55 mark in the third quarter.
Shortly after, Decatur suffered another loss, when junior Jeremiah Purnell was injured. A few minutes later, he was carted away in an ambulance. Purnell suffered a concussion.
Parkside tacked on three additional points with a 27-yard field goal with 3:50 left in the third quarter to increase its advantage 24-7.
As the Seahawks gathered in a huddle on the sideline one of the players yelled, “Make a statement. Don’t bow down to them.”
With 47 seconds to play in the third quarter, Meekins sprinted toward the end zone and flipped over a Parkside player to get across the line. While in midair, Meekins was hit and Decatur’s athletic trainer came out to tend to him. With the wind knocked out of him and in a bit of pain, Meekins was able to walk off the field on his own.
Parkside blocked Dundore’s extra-point attempt to hold a 24-13 lead at the end of the quarter.
Two and a half minutes into the fourth quarter, Meekins threw a 16-yard pass to senior Demond Henry, who was wide open in the end zone. Decatur was unsuccessful on the two-point conversion.
After turnovers by both teams, the Decatur defense stopped Parkside to take over with 3:15 on the clock.
Meekins found junior Tyrie Adams for the touchdown and Decatur pulled ahead 25-24 with 3:03 left in the game. The two-point conversion attempt failed.
As the Decatur defensive players stepped onto the field, the crowd chanted “defense” to encourage and cheer on the Seahawks, who managed to hold off Parkside to secure the one-point victory.
“A lot of teams would have quit down 24-7. I’m proud that we didn’t quit,” Knox said. “They’re not the best football players, but they make up for it with heart and effort. They scratch, they claw and they fight.”
Senior Andrew Borradaile rushed 14 times for 61 yards. Meekins ran the ball six times, racking up 90 yards. He was 12-for-23 passing for 202 yards.
“[Meekins] took it on his shoulders. He was the one that made the plays that had to be made at the times they needed to be made,” Knox said. “When we were down 24-7, he said, ‘We’re not going to lose this game.’”
Henry had three receptions for 65 yards. Adams caught one pass for 49 yards.
Senior Chase Sams led the Decatur defense with 15 tackles. Borradaile chipped in with 11 and sophomore Dryden Brous made 10 tackles. Junior Sam Coates contributed with seven tackles, a quarterback sack and a fumble recovery.
Decatur will battle its Worcester County rival, the Snow Hill Eagles, tonight, Nov. 8, in the final game of the regular season. To be successful, Knox said the Seahawks must be disciplined, not turn the ball over, play every play like its their last and be physical. Game time is 6 p.m.
If the Seahawks (6-3) win the competition in Snow Hill, they will advance to the 3A South Regional tournament. In all other high school sports, teams automatically qualify to compete in the playoffs, but in football, squads must perform well enough during the regular season in order to advance.