Ocean City Today
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Knox back to lead SD football team

By Managing Editor, Lisa Capitelli | Aug 31, 2017
Photo by: Lisa Capitelli The Stephen Decatur football team welcomes Head Coach Bob Knox back to the sidelines for the 2017 season. “I missed the competition and being on the sideline Friday nights,” he said. “I didn’t realize how much I missed the kids until I came back, because you develop relationships.”

(Sept. 1, 2017) Longtime Stephen Decatur football Coach Bob Knox has returned to lead the Seahawks after taking a leave of absence last year for family health reasons.

“It’s good to be back. The great thing about it is my grandson is at least holding his own,” Knox said.

Head coach of the team for three decades, Knox decided to step down for the 2016 season when his grandson, Eli, was diagnosed with a rare brain tumor. Stan Griffin, the squad’s defensive coordinator, took over as interim head coach.

“I missed it. I’ve been doing it for so long,” said Knox, who has been at the helm of the football program since 1984. He is the 12th all-time in Maryland in wins with a record of 228-135. “I missed the competition and being on the sideline Friday nights. I didn’t realize how much I missed the kids until I came back, because you develop relationships.”

“It’s great to have coach back. He’s a leader to us and we always look up to him,” said senior quarterback Dominic Klebe. “I can ask him any questions. If I don’t know a play, I can ask him. He’s really helpful.”

About 40 players make up the varsity team, and just a handful of them were starters last year. The Seahawks struggled in 2016, winning just one game. After going 0-9, Decatur trounced Snow Hill, 43-6, in the final match of the season.

“We are more athletic than we were last year and we have more speed. We have individuals who are pretty fast,” Knox said. “We want to be more successful and competitive. In order to do that we’ve got to work hard and get better.”

Starters returning to compete are seniors Justin Manganiello (lineback/running back), kicker John Ford and Shea Griffin (center/lineback), junior Sam Todd (offensive tackle) and Klebe at quarterback.

“[Klebe’s] doing a good job. He’s taken leadership of the team,” Knox said. “He’s getting to know the offense – it’s a little different from last year.”

Klebe took over as the starting quarterback last season, which he said has prepared him for this year.

“I feel a lot of pressure, but I know I’ve just got to stay calm for my guys, make sure everyone’s doing the right thing, make sure everyone’s going on the right snap and lead the team in the huddle,” said Klebe, a member of the varsity team for two seasons. “I’m looking forward to this season. I’m going to make the best out of it. We have a lot of talent this year and we’re working as hard as we can.”

Manganiello and Ford earned Bayside Conference Honorable Mention accolades for their performances during the 2016 season.

“I have a lot of experience so I need to make sure everyone’s on track, everyone’s pushing themselves to do the best they can do and make sure everyone knows their assignments so come game day we’re not lost,” said Manganiello, a three-year varsity player. “I think we’re definitely improving. I see a special group of kids.

“We’re just focusing week by week,” he continued. “We’re going to take one game at a time. We don’t always have the most talent. We really focus on having the best work ethic.”

Senior Bryce Kalchthaler was injured last year and will take the field on the offensive line for 2017 along with junior Daletez Smith. Senior Matt Willey will play on the defensive line. Decatur track team standout Tah’jeem Woodland has joined the squad and the senior will use his speed at slotback and safety.

Other newcomers include seniors Billy Wheatley (defensive line) and Hayden Frazier (slotback/defensive back).

“We have no expectations as far as wins and losses,” Knox said. “We just want to get better every week, be physical and be disciplined.”

Sept. 1: Arcadia, 6 p.m. (H)

Sept. 8: Wicomico, 6 p.m. (H)

Sept. 15: Washington, 6:30 p.m. (A)

Sept. 22: Kent Island, 6 p.m. (H)

Sept 29: North Caroline, 6:30 p.m. (A)

Oct. 7: Queen Anne’s, 1:30 p.m. (A)

Oct. 13: Easton, 6 p.m. (H)

Oct. 19: Parkside, 6 p.m. (H)

Oct. 28: James M. Bennett, noon (A)

Nov. 3: Snow Hill, 6 p.m. (A)

 

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