Grayson Muehlstein and Austin Givens put on a first-half show to spark the Eagles to a 52-7 win in the 94th Battle of Big Sandy.
Decatur (6-3, 2-1) rolled Friday night in front of their home crowd at Eagle Stadium. Givens had 210 receiving yards and three touchdowns by the end of the second quarter, and this time the Bridgeport (0-8, 0-2) defense had no answer.
“It’s always big when Decatur and Bridgeport play, it doesn’t matter what it is,” Decatur coach Kyle Story said. “If they are playing marbles or whatever, everybody wants to come out with a win. It’s a good time for the kids to enjoy a victory.”
Givens continued to find open holes in the Bridgeport secondary and Muehlstein kept getting him the ball. The two hooked up for the first score of the night on a 10-yard touchdown pass to give Decatur a 7-0 lead.
Bridgeport missed an early opportunity when a nice kickoff return by Bryan Hutchison put them at the Decatur 27 to start their opening drive. But the Bulls did put together a drive on their next possession to tie the game.
Hunter Gantt took it in from three yards out on a fourth and goal.
It only took two plays for the Eagles to respond. This time Muehlstein found Givens for a 48-yard strike to give Decatur a lead they would never relinquish.
“Our offensive line did a good job with our pass protection and gave Grayson time to throw the ball,” Story said. “He threw it well. Austin went and got it and made some big plays for us there in the first half. He’s a hard worker and deserves a game like this.”
After another defensive stop, the two hooked up again on a 72-yard catch and run to open up a 21-7 Eagle advantage. Midway through the second quarter Clark Allen connected on a 26-yard field goal to extend the Decatur lead.
Bridgeport responded with a drive that nearly put them back in the ballgame – but after first-and-goal at the Eagle seven, the Bulls couldn’t move it another yard. Three straight incompletions by Trey Cook ended the threat, and Chris Hernandez followed with a missed field goal.
The Bulls left too much time on the clock and Muehlstein made them pay with a run around the left end for a 73-yard score. Decatur led 31-7 at the half.
“You have to give Bridgeport credit for playing hard,” Story said. “They have so many guys that are out with injuries right now. They are definitely fighting with a short stick, but the guys they had out there were fighting with all they had.
“They didn’t have their best ones on the field, but we’re glad to get the victory.”
Early in the third quarter Givens put the exclamation point on his night with his fourth touchdown reception.
“I went out there and ran my routes and got open,” Givens said. “It meant a lot for us seniors going out there and playing for Jonny [Bell] and putting it all on the line, and getting the sand back.”
Bell, a classmate of the now-senior group, passed away from a dirt bike accident his freshman year. The seniors honored him before kickoff.
The win sets up a showdown for the top Division I representative out of District 9-3A when the Eagles and Sanger Indians meet in the regular season finale. With a bye week coming up, Decatur will have an extra week to get ready for the Indians.
“It’s a good time for us so we can get ready for that last district game,” Story said. “It going to be a big game between us and Sanger to see who gets that No. 1 seed in Division I.”
The Eagles travel to Sanger Nov. 8.
DECATUR 52, BRIDGEPORT 7
Bridgeport … 7 … 0 … 0 … … 0 … – … 7
Decatur … 21 … 10 … 14 … … 7 … – … 52
Decatur – Grayson Muehlstein 10 pass to Austin Givens; Clark Allen kick
Bridgeport – Hunter Gantt 3 run; Chris Hernandez kick
Decatur – Muehlstein 48 pass to Givens; Allen kick
Decatur – Muehlstein 72 pass to Givens; Allen kick
Decatur – Allen 26 field goal
Decatur – Muehlstein 73 run; Allen kick
Decatur – Muehlstein 10 pass to Givens; Allen kick
Decatur – Levi Rust 5 run; Eddie Martinez kick
Decatur – Martinez 2 run; Martinez kick
BRIDGEPORT … DECATUR
First Downs … 13 … 29
Rushing Yards … 105 … 307
Passing Yards … 153 … 344
Total Yards … 258 … 651
Comp-Att-Int … 20-44-1 … 24-32-0
Fumbles lost … 2-1 … 1-1
Penalties … 6-47 … 4-35
Rushing – Decatur, Grayson Muehlstein, 4-88; Bridgeport, Hunter Gantt 10-49
Receiving – Decatur, Austin Givens 11-254; Bridgeport, Jaz Hickson, 5-87
Passing – Decatur, Muehlstein 22-30-324; Bridgeport, Trey Cook, 20-44-153