After finally getting a week off, the Decatur Eagles prepare to get back to action Friday in one of their most important games of the year.
Decatur is trying to secure the first seed in Division I out of District 9-3A, and they need a win over Sanger to get it done. Gainesville and Krum are already locked in as the two small-school representatives out of the district.
The Eagles (6-3, 2-1) battle the Sanger Indians (6-3, 2-1) Friday at Indian Stadium for a 7:30 p.m. kickoff.
“That has been our goal, to get back to the playoffs,” Decatur head coach Kyle Story said. “We knew we were in after our second district win, so we’re looking forward to it. Now we want to get that No. 1 seed.”
The first seed in Division I is important because the way things are shaping up, the loser of Friday’s game would have to face No. 2 Argyle in the opening round.
Only one thing would keep that from happening. If Carrollton Ranchview defeats Aubrey by more than nine points, that would knock Argyle down to Division II.
Despite everything riding on this game, Story says they just have to approach like any other contest.
“We’re not doing anything any different. We are just preparing to win,” Story said. “We want to focus on getting better and try to get that top spot.”
On paper, the two teams appear evenly matched. The Eagle defense will be tested in trying to slow down a potent Indian rushing attack.
Trevon Jackson has rushed for 1,529 yards this season, including 249 last week against Bridgeport. When Jackson isn’t carrying the load, Derek Shelby and quarterback Wyatt Broxson are also very dangerous.
“They all run the ball well,” Story said. “Jackson can just knock people off of him. We’ve got to do a good job tackling and get a lot of guys to the football.”
If the Eagle defense can get some stops, the Indian defense has been vulnerable. Sanger gave up 37 points last week to Bridgeport and surrendered 35 to Gainesville a couple of weeks prior.
Decatur will be one of the more potent offenses Sanger has seen this season.
“We’ve been executing well lately,” Story said of his offense. “Cain Lowe and Austin Givens have been great at receiver for us the last couple of games. The running game is coming on too.”
DECATUR (6-3, 2-1) AT SANGER (6-3, 2-1)
7:30 p.m. at Indian Stadium
Decatur: Harris Rating 214
Notable: The Eagles need a win to be first seed in Division I.
Sanger: Harris Rating 213
Notable: Sanger’s Trevon Jackson has rushed for 1,529 yards this season.
Harris line: Decatur by 1