By Lynn Schofer

The Seaford High football team will be led by second year head coach Mark Quillin, who has a combined 30 years of experience. Coach Quillin’s Blue Jays will have a different look to the schedule this fall after the DIAA approved a three-tiered Delaware high school football system.  

Seaford will play in the 1A classification in District 2 that will match the Blue Jays up with Polytech, Odessa, Indian River, First State Military Academy, Early College, and Laurel. The Blue Jays are no longer scheduled to play neighboring rivals Woodbridge or Delmar.

O-LINE- Seaford High varsity football is back on the field. The offensive line is shown working with Coach Clint Dunn. Photo by Lynn Schofer

Coach Quillin said the changes may help continue in the plan to rebuild the Blue Jays’ football program but said, “The Laurel game is a must game and even if they were not in our division it would be a game that had to be played.”  

Quillin will also challenge the team early on. “We will be playing up and will go against larger schools in Tower Hill, Odessa, and Dickinson which will give us a feel and see what adjustments we have to make to be solid and strong,” said Quillin.

Coach Quillin’s staff remains much of the same with Clint Dunn, Jamaal Austin, Tyler Justice, Joe Paleen, Jensen Dennard, Royce Boyer, Jamont Matthews, Matt MacCoy while Dwayne Bivens, Dylan Fox, and Austin Perry join the Blue Jays. Coach Quillin said of his staff, “The coaches are a blessing and we are getting things going in the right direction. This was not a one year plan of growth but more like a five year.” 

Sophomore Careen Bolden will most likely step into the pocket as quarterback for the Blue Jays. “He is athletic and with his experience as a point guard in basketball it is the perfect fit,” said Quillin.

Every one returns on the offensive line except for at center and freshman Landon Sockriter is ready to step in. “He has been in the weight room all summer and a hard-nosed tough working kid who is ready to step up and Tymere Davis had a great off season workout,” Quillin said.

Also returning will be two all-conference players from last year in Roman Maddox and James Schultz. “These guys are sophomores but I told them I need leaders who are the first guys to practice and last guys to leave. No one has really talked to the players about what it means to be a leader. We have some players that the coaching staff is looking to prime into leadership roles. We will see who steps up,” said Quillin.

Senior Nate Holmes will solidify the offensive line. He is joined by Booker DeShields in the running back position and Tyrell Thomas as the Blue Jays’ three seniors. 

The COVID pandemic hit athletics particularly hard with eligibility and Seaford lost some players, but coach Quillin said life lessons are important and although there will be some holes he believes there is definite improvements.

“The ultimate goal is to be competitive. I would love to see 10-15 more players come out and join the team,” he said. “I am going to make it my mission to talk to each kid I can see and be in contact with inside the school. It is time I get to meet and talk to the kids after a year of the COVID crisis.”

Seaford will play two scrimmages before opening the season on the road before returning on Sept. 10 for the home opener against Tower Hill. Coach Quillin said despite some challenges, the Blue Jays will be ready.

“They have had a full year to understand my style and the coaches said the practices are the best they have seen,” said Quillin. “We must stay healthy and in a small school if you lose one to two players the team could take on a whole different look.” 

Coach Quillin said the Seaford School District’s support of the program has been a huge help, “The fields look beautiful and the custodial staff has been a huge part of the support and appreciate their help in getting the practice field ready. The support allows the players to have a great experience with the traditions of Seaford while building new ones.”