The Decatur Eagles fought to the very end Friday in the Class 3A Region II semifinal game, but too many mistakes cost them in the end. Six turnovers and 10 penalties hurt any chance the Eagles had of continuing their season.
Tyler Chapel Hill (9-4) defeated Decatur (9-4) 55-40.
“I’m really proud of this year,” Decatur head coach Kyle Story said. “We didn’t play our best tonight, but it was fun seeing them improve each week. It was the most fun I’ve had coaching football in a long time.”
After pulling within eight (28-20) at the half, the Eagles had a golden opportunity to grab the momentum in the third quarter.
Decatur took the second-half kickoff and drove inside the Bulldog 10-yard line. Two plays later a Grayson Muehlstein interception thwarted the drive, and Chapel Hill took over.
Both defenses played tough for the first part of the third quarter.
Corey Durdon recovered a fumble that would lead to the first score of the second half.
Three plays later Cain Lowe found Muehlstein on a 39-yard double pass to get the Eagles within two.
Decatur missed the try for two to remain down 28-26.
“I told them at halftime if we take away the mistakes, we are going to be all right,” Story said. “I thought we were going to tie it up, but we didn’t get the two-point conversion down there. It just got away from us with the turnovers in the second half.”
The Eagles had their chances to take the lead again, but turnovers ended their next two drives and Chapel Hill took advantage.
The Bulldogs scored 13 unanswered points to take a 41-26 lead.
“We kept giving up 5-yard penalties in the first half and then turnovers throughout
the game,” Story said. “Then two interceptions at the goal line – you can’t come away with no points in those opportunities.
“Chapel Hill is a good team,” he said. “They deserve to win tonight.”
No matter the deficit the Eagles kept finding a way to climb back in the game. They finally got something to go their way on their next drive when Muehlstein found Christian Carrillo inside the five. Carrillo fumbled while trying to score, but the ball was recovered in the end zone by Gage Frank for the touchdown.
The Eagle score got Decatur back within eight at 41-33, but they were unable to get any closer.
Wesley Thompson capped off the next Bulldog drive with a 6-yard scamper to pay dirt.
Chapel Hill put the game away when its defense forced another Muehlstein interception that was returned 90 yards for a score.
Decatur would add one more score when Carrillo hauled in a 62-yard catch and rumbled down the sideline.
“We had a really good group of seniors that did a good job of leading and made sure we were all together as a team,” Story said. “They kept everybody working hard so that we did improve each week. They were a fun group to work with.”
Decatur got off to a bad start falling behind 14-0 early.
The Eagles got on the board first with a Lowe 11-yard touchdown reception.
Chapel Hill extended its lead to 21-7, but one play later Muehlstein responded with his biggest play of the night, an 85-yard run around the left end.
Muehlstein found Lowe again right before the half on a 22-yard strike to make it 28-20 at the half.
DECATUR 40, CHAPEL HILL 55
Decatur 0 20 6 14 – 40
Chapel Hill 14 14 7 20 – 55
C.H. – Andrew Black 27 pass to Blake Mayfield; Bonilla kick
C.H. – Jeffrey Minor 20 run; Bonilla kick
Decatur – Grayson Muehlstein 11 pass to Cain Lowe; Martinez kick
C.H. – Black 10 run; Bonilla kick
Decatur – Muehlstein 85 run; Martinez kick
C.H. – Black 44 pass to Blake Mayfield; Bonilla kick
Decatur – Muehlstein 22 pass to Lowe; kick failed
Decatur – Lowe 39 pass to Muehlstein; pass failed
C.H. – Black 52 pass to Minor; Bonilla kick
C.H. – Black 26 pass to Lex Heckel; pass failed
Decatur – Muehlstein 11 pass to Frank; Allen kick
C.H. – Wesley Thompson 24 run; Bonilla kick
C.H. – Sammy Guzman 90-yard interception return; Bonilla kick
Decatur – Muehlstein 62 pass to Christian Carrillo
DECATUR … CHAPEL HILL
Rushing yards … 220 … 347
Passing yards … 435 … 316
Total yards … 655 … 663
Comp-Att-Int … 32-47-4 … 22-34-0
Fumbles/lost … 3-2 … 5-4
Penalties … 10-80 … 8-80
Passing; Decatur, Grayson Muehlstein 31-45-396; Chapel Hill, Andrew Black, 22-34-316
Rushing: Decatur, Muehlstein 15-218; Chapel Hill, Black, 23-126
Receiving: Decatur, Cain Lowe, 13-191; Chapel Hill, Blake Mayfield, 5-89