Despite an offensive rally in the second half, Decatur (4-2) never managed to claw their way into the lead in a 31-27 road loss to Alvarado (3-3) Friday night.
Gray puffy streaks of clouds scattered across the sky as it shifted from blue to purple as night started to set in prior to kickoff. And the purple uniformed Alvarado Indians took advantage of a fast start to break a three-game losing streak.
The Indians scored on the first possession of the game. Diminutive junior running back Adrian Hendrick struck first with a 12-yard run just over two minutes into the game. The 5′ 5″ back racked up 246 yards and three touchdowns on 36 touches during the night.
After forcing Decatur to punt on their first possession, Alvarado scored again on a short pass from Adam Everitt to a wide open Dylan Lemons on fourth and two at the Eagle’s 6 yard line. It was one of only two passes the quarterback completed all night.
“We came out kind of flat, it felt like, in the first quarter,” Decatur coach Kyle Story said. “We fell behind by 14 points and had to battle back the whole time.”
Halfway through the second quarter Decatur finally scored when Grayson Muehlstein found a wide open Cain Lowe across the middle of the field. Lowe continued to streak 54 yards into the end zone.
But Hendrick struck again before halftime, zig-zagging his way through the middle of the Eagle defense on a 34-yard run. Decatur went into the locker room down 21-7 at the half.
“At halftime we talked about what we needed to do to come out and execute better,” Story said. “Our offensive line blocked well and Grayson came out and made some plays throwing the ball and our receivers caught the ball well. Defensively we started getting some stops in the second half.”
Decatur outscored Alvarado 20-10 in the second half. They also racked up more yards as Muehlstein completed 21 of 32 attempts for 336 yards, three touchdowns and one interception. The senior quarterback was also the team’s leading rusher with 65 yards and a touchdown on the ground.
Muehlstein scored on a five-yard scramble late in the third, but Hendricks responded a few minutes later with a 53-yard run around left end.
“We gave up one down the sideline on a misalignment that could have been the difference in the game,” Story said.
In the fourth quarter Muehlstein found senior receiver Austin Givens twice in the end zone, once on a 32-yard lob on fourth down and again on a seven yard strike with only 14 seconds left to cut the Indian lead to four points. A failed onside kick try moments later ended the game.
“The last three quarters I think we played well, and Alvarado is the best team we’ve played since Trinity Christian,” Story said. “Had we just come out better early in the first quarter we could have had a chance.”
The loss snapped a four-game win streak for the Eagles as they prepare for district play next Friday at home against undefeated Gainesville.
ALVARADO 31, DECATUR 27
Decatur … 0 … 7 … 7 … … 13 … – … 27
Alvarado … 14 … 7 … 0 … … 10 … – … 31
A – 9:27 Adrian Hendrick 12 run; Gabriel Favela kick
A – 3:25 Adam Everitt 6 pass to Dylan Lemons; Favela kick
D – 7:59 Grayson Muehlstein 54 pass to Cain Lowe; Clark Allen kick
A – 3:00 Hendrick 34 run; Favela kick
D – 4:40 Muehlstein 5 run; Allen kick
A – 11:59 Hendrick 53 run; Favela kick
D – 9:29 Muehlstein 32 pass to Austin Givens; Allen kick
A – 3:54 Favela 40-yard field goal
D – 0:14 Muehlstein 7 pass to Givens; kick missed
DECATUR … ALVARADO
First Downs … 17 … 15
Rushes-Yards … 29-117 … 57-353
Passing Yards … 336 … 28
Total Yards … 453 … 381
Comp-Att-Int … 21-32-1 … 2-4-0
Fumbles-lost … 1-0 … 4-1
Punts-avg … 3-29 … 4-44
Penalties-yds … 2-15 … 9-60
Rushing – Decatur, Muehlstein 14-65, 1 TD; Alvarado, Hendrick, 36-242, 3 TDs
Passing – Decatur, Muehlstein, 21-32-336, 3 TDs; Alvarado, Adam Everitt, 2-4-28, 1 TD
Receiving – Decatur, Lowe 5-147, 1 TD, Givens 4-89, 2TDs; Alvarado, Jay Holland, 1-22