Everything bounced Decatur’s way Friday night.
The Eagles dominated both sides of the ball enroute to a 62-34 victory over Carrolton Ranchview in a 3A, Region II bi-district playoff game at Falcon Stadium in Lake Dallas.
It was Decatur’s first playoff victory since 2005. Players celebrated the win with parents and students who stormed the field afterwards as the team hoisted the bi-district trophy.
“It feels great,” said senior quarterback Grayson Muehlstein said. “It’s been eight years. Everybody played great, and we look forward to next week and getting another win.”
Ranchview struck first. Junior quarterback Keidrien Wadley kept the ball on a zone read and dashed five yards around the left edge on the Wolves’ opening possession. It was their only lead of the night.
Muehlstein answered moments later with a three-yard power run up the middle.
“I thought our offensive line really did a great job by controlling the line of scrimmage and moving it the other direction,” Decatur coach Kyle Story said. “They did a good job coming off and giving us some running lanes.”
A balanced offense and that strong line performance allowed Decatur to gouge the Wolves’ defense on the ground and in the air. The Eagles racked up 296 rushing yards. Muehlstein accounted for 129 of those, and rushed for three touchdowns.
In the air he was extremely efficient, completing 16 of 19 pass attempts for 225 yards and two touchdowns, while allowing one interception.
“Grayson threw the ball well again and all our receivers responded,” Story said. “Gage Frank did a good job tonight catching the ball. We have three good threats out there that go out and catch the ball.”
Frank led all receivers with 105 yards on seven possessions as the senior continued to get open downfield.
“I haven’t been catching a lot of balls the last few games, and I was like the secret weapon tonight,” Frank said. “They were looking for Austin (Givens) and Cain (Lowe) tonight so I was getting open tonight.”
Givens came through with 68 receiving yards and two touchdowns on three catches.
Early in the second quarter he got wide open in the middle of the field and took a Muehlstein dart 24 yards into the end zone.
Clark Allen then popped up a pooch kick on the subsequent kickoff that Decatur recovered, setting up a short field that led to a two-yard touchdown run by Muehlstein. They pulled off the pooch kick and recovery again in the same quarter followed by a 35-yard touchdown strike from Muehlstein to a wide-open Givens.
“Another huge key in the first half was the kickoff recoveries,” Story said. “They let two bounce off the ground and we got two extra possessions. We were able to score quick, feel better about the lead and get the momentum.”
A four-yard touchdown dash by Martinez minutes later allowed Decatur to carry a 42-20 lead into the locker room at halftime.
The scoring slowed down in the second half as Decatur cruised to victory by controlling the ground game and running out the clock. Muehlstein scored early in the third with a 44-yard run up the middle after breaking through the line.
Lowe scored minutes later on a reverse that he took 12 yards to the end zone.
“Our pace of offense eventually wore down their defense,” Story said.
Martinez scored on a tough 11-yard run early in the fourth to make it 62-20. As the final quarter wound down Ranchview scored a couple touchdowns against Decatur’s backups.
The Eagles move to 8-3 for the season as they prepare for next Friday’s playoff game and their deepest run into the postseason since this year’s seniors were in the fourth grade.
DECATUR 62, RANCHVIEW 34
Decatur … 14 … 28 … 13 … … 7 … – … 62
Ranchview … 7 … 13 … 0 … … 14 … – … 34
Ranchview – 9:25, Keidran Wadley 5 run; Mario Romero kick
Decatur – 6:28, Grayson Muehlstein 3 run; Clark Allen kick
Decatur – 3:15, Muehlstein 13 run; Allen kick
Ranchview – 10:43, Raghib Ismail 3 run; Romero kick
Decatur – 9:32, Muehlstein 24 pass to Austin Givens; Allen kick
Decatur – 9:08, Muehlstein 2 run; Allen kick
Ranchview – 7:21, Davian Carter 40 run; kick blocked
Decatur – 5:12, Muehlstein 35 pass to Givens; Allen kick
Decatur – 2:14, Eddie Martinez 4 run; Allen kick
Decatur – 8:24, Muehlstein 44 run; kick blocked
Decatur – 5:18, Cain Lowe 12 run; Allen kick
Decatur – 11:26, Eddie Martinez 21 run; Allen kick
Ranchview – Dominique Carter 63 run; Romero kick
Ranchview – Wadley 27 pass to Armahn Mathis; Romero kick
Rushing: Decatur, Muehlstein 14-129, 2 TDs, Martinez 18-105, 2 TDs; Ranchview, Carter 12-134, 1 TD
Receiving: Decatur, Frank, 7-105, Givens 3-38, 2 TDs; Ranchview, Ismail 5-39
Passing: Decatur, Muehlstein 16-19-1, 225 yds., 2 TDs; Ranchview, Wadley, 11-19-0, 95 yds., 1 TD
DECATUR … RANCHVIEW
First downs … 27 … 11
Rushes-yds. … 296 … 251
Passing yds. … 263 … 95
Total yds. … 559 … 346
C-A-I … 17-21-1 … 11-19-0
punts-avg. … 2-13.5 … 3-33
fum-lost … 3-1 … 1-1
pen-yds. … 9-75 … 5-50