Under a cold, pelting rain that never ceased, freezing temperatures and strong winds out of the north, Decatur overwhelmed the competition during a winter-like storm Friday night.
The Decatur Eagles powered through the Dallas Wilmer-Hutchins Eagles 48-7 during a Region II 3A Division 1 Area playoff at Mustang-Panther Field in Grapevine.
“It was sloppy at times, but some of that you could blame on the weather being cold and wet and nasty,” said Decatur head coach Kyle Story. “But we can take momentum heading into the third round.
“A lot of people didn’t give this team a chance to be playing at Thanksgiving time,” he said. “And anytime you’re playing at Thanksgiving time you’re having a pretty good season. I’m really proud of their effort.”
“It was a good win for us,” said senior quarterback Grayson Muehlstein. “We had to fight through the weather, and everybody did a great job with that. It’s not very comfortable, but you just have to fight through. And the team who plays through the weather is going to have the advantage.
“It was great to get past the second round,” he said.
Decatur’s defense thrived in the adverse conditions. They held Wilmer-Hutchins to a mere 103 total yards in the first half and a total of 207 for the entire night.
“The defense only gave up one big play in the first half,” said Story. “Other than that we played really good defense all night and contained their speed.”
“The defense got some big stops and held them to seven and took some pressure off (the offense),” Muehlstein added.
It was a tale of two halves for Muehlstein and his offense. He had three rushing touchdowns in the first half. The first came on the opening drive when he tiptoed 19 yards down the sideline into the end zone. Then at the first of the second quarter he followed his offensive linemen on a 3-yard power run for the score. He added a third on an easy 2-yard run halfway through the quarter.
He was helped by junior running back Eddie Martinez and freshman Payton McAlister. Muehlstein used the zone read with devastating effect. The defense played on their heels, not knowing if Muehlstein was going to keep it or hand it off to one of the other backs.
“We felt like we could run the ball a little bit,” Story said. “Eddie (Martinez) and Grayson (Muehlstein) could run the ball a lot in the first half, and our offensive line was getting after them. But they went to a different front in the second half, and that allowed us to throw the ball in the second half.”
Muehlstein added three scores through the air in the second half, all in the fourth quarter, and all to different receivers. He hit Austin Givens on a 6-yard screen to the left, Cain Lowe on a 28-yard dart into the back of the end zone and one more to Christian Carrillo who bobbled the short pass before concentrating and hauling it in on a 7-yard floater over a grasping secondary.
“I think our line did a really good job picking up the blitzes and giving me time to throw,” Muehlstein said.
Muehlstein rushed for 133 yards and three TDs on 19 carries and completed 19 of 26 passes for 214 yards, three TDs and no interceptions.
Lowe led all receivers with 129 yards and a TD on seven catches.
The defense added an exclamation point to their icy performance when sophomore linebacker Cole Vaughn picked off a pass and ran it back 30 yards for a touchdown, locking in the final score at 48-7.
Decatur moves to 9-3 for the season and will play the Chapel Hill Bulldogs 7:30 p.m. next week a Forney High School. The Bulldogs secured their area victory with a 38-14 win over Crandall.
DECATUR 48, WILMER-HUTCHINS 7
Decatur … 7 … 14 … 0 … … 27 … – … 48
WH … 0 … 7 … 0 … … 0 … – … 7
Decatur – 8:46 Grayson Muehlstein 19 run; Clark Allen kick
Decatur – 11:56 Muehlstein 3 run; Allen kick
Wilmer-Hutchins – 9:50 De’Monte Ruth 50 run; Torey Crawford kick
Decatur – 6:04 Muehlstein 2 run; Allen kick
Decatur – 10:33 Muehlstein 6 yard pass to Austin Givens; 2 point fail
Decatur – 8:15 Muehlstein 7 pass to Christian Carrillo; Allen kick
Decatur – 5:19 Muehlstein 28 pass to Cain Lowe; Allen kick
Decatur – 4:58 Cole Vaughn 30 yard interception return; Allen kick
DECATUR … WH
First Downs … 23 … 10
Rushes Yards … 46-249 … 33-161
Passing Yards … 214 … 46
Total Yards … 463 … 207
Comp-Att-Int … 19-28-0 … 6-24-1
Punts … 2-19 … 4-0
Fumbles lost … 1-1 … 4-0
Penalties … 5-45 … 3-35
Rushing – Decatur, Muehlstein 19-133 3 TDs, Eddie Martinez 14-66, Payton McAlister 10-49; WH Ruth 4-54 1 TD
Receiving – Decatur, Lowe 7-129 1 TD; WH Kealon Gilmore 1-16
Passing – Decatur, Muehlstein 19-27-214 3 TDs; WH DeaUndre Foster 3-16-16