Grudge match turns playoff maker, breaker

By Clay Corbett | Published Wednesday, October 24, 2012
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UPENDED – Decatur running back Hunter Aragon and the rest of the Eagles will be looking for a win against rival Bridgeport to keep their playoff hopes alive. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

The Battle of Big Sandy for 2012 has turned into a fight for both teams’ playoff lives. With only a few games left, each is desperate for a win to prolong their season.

Bridgeport (2-5, 0-1) hosts the Decatur Eagles (3-5, 0-2) Friday. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.

The Bulls may go in with a slight advantage in the cross-county rivalry after having an extra week to prepare and with one more game left on the schedule than Decatur.

“It went good and we needed the rest,” Bridgeport coach Danny Henson said about the bye week. “It was nice to take care of some nagging injuries and get energized.”

Bull running back Gabe Huerta has been hobbled by an ankle injury since the Princeton game and was limited two weeks ago against Krum. According to Henson, Huerta is getting closer to full speed.

Decatur has injury problems of their own. Jared Durdon suffered a concussion last week, and Max Junkert is out for the season with a high ankle sprain.

Running back Levi Rust is still questionable after sitting out last week against Krum.

Despite the rash of injuries, the rivalry should be even more heated with so many playoff implications on the line.

“We want to approach it like any other game,” Decatur coach Kyle Story said. “Everybody wants to beat their rival, but we don’t want to get too hyped up. It’s still football, and it’s fun to be a part of.”

Henson says it’s an enjoyable week for everyone.

“It’s a good rivalry that we look forward to each year,” Henson said.

Not only will the winner of this year’s game have a year worth of bragging rights, they look to also be in line for a spot in the postseason.

The loser of Friday’s game will have a very difficult time making the playoffs.

“We definitely have to win the last two games, or we are playing for pride,” Story said.

Decatur knows they will have their hands full with Bridgeport’s versatile attack.

“Their spread is tough to defend, and Huerta is an exceptional running back,” Story said. “They make it very tough on your defense.”

Henson knows his defense will have a tough test, too.

“They [Decatur] are good offensively, and they have a multi-threat quarterback,” Henson said. “They out-gained Krum. They just had some costly mistakes and turnovers.”

DECATUR (3-5, 0-2) AT BRIDGEPORT (2-5, 0-1)
7:30 p.m. at Bull Stadium

LAST MEETING: Decatur won 30-16

DECATUR: Harris Rating 207

NOTABLE: The Eagles need a win to keep their playoff hopes alive.

BRIDGEPORT: Harris Rating 197

NOTABLE: Bridgeport’s defense ranks the worst in the county, giving up 412 yards per game.

HARRIS LINE: Decatur by 10

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