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Football: Decatur tries to clear area hurdle

By Reese Waddell | Published Wednesday, November 22, 2017
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After exacting revenge on Abilene Wylie and winning the 4A Division I bi-district championship, the Decatur Eagles will advance to the area round and take on Andrews Friday.

Decatur (7-4) returns to Wilford Moore Stadium on the campus of McMurry University in Abilene, where it played Levelland in the area round last year. Friday’s kickoff with Andrews (9-2) is slated for 7 p.m.

Decatur racked up 476 yards and 48 points against the Bulldogs, continuing its offensive hot streak from the end of the regular season. The Eagles have now won four straight games dating back to October and have averaged 61.8 points in those contests.

The Mustangs finished the regular season 8-2 and dispatched Borger 48-21 in the bi-district round last Thursday.

“We don’t really care what their record is,” said Decatur quarterback Wilson Hicks. “We have a lot of confidence in our play right now. We’re just looking forward to it.”

Andrews averaged 52.7 points per game during the regular season, scoring 70 or more points twice.

“We know in the playoffs the stakes are a lot higher,” said senior receiver Alec Uselton. “We’re just going to go up there and do what we do. The past couple of years Decatur hasn’t really made a deep run in the playoffs. It would mean a lot to do something like that and bring a lot of pride to our town.”

Decatur has not made it past the area round since 2013.

Andrews is led on offense by senior quarterback Jace Keesee, who has completed 71.9 percent of his passes this season for 2,299 yards and 29 touchdowns. Keesee is the engine behind the Mustangs’ spread offense, and Fuller knows his secondary will need to be opportunistic and ready to make plays.

“For the last several years [Andrews] has scored a lot of points,” Fuller said. “They’re a great team. They have playmakers and are probably similar in a lot of ways to us in how they operate offensively.”

On offense, the Eagles will continue to lean on the trio of quarterback Hicks, running back A.J. Martinez and Uselton. All three played major roles in Decatur’s victory over Abilene Wylie, accounting for six of the Eagles’ seven touchdowns.

Martinez had one of his best games of the season last Friday, rushing for 220 yards and three touchdowns on 24 carries. Decatur had more yards on the ground (270) than through the air (206) – something that has been a key for the Eagles on their four-game winning streak.

Decatur has averaged 237.5 yards rushing over the past four games.

“A.J., the offensive line and the receivers’ blocking was phenomenal [against Wylie],” Fuller said. “It’s a real credit to all of them for sticking with it and not getting frustrated when it wasn’t going well early.”

DECATUR 48, WYLIE 34

Decatur … 7 … 7 … 20 … 14 … – … 48
Wylie … 14 … 6 … 0 … 14 … – … 34

FIRST QUARTER

Wylie – 9:34, Gatlin Martin 33 pass to Sam King, Cameron Dawsey kick
Wylie – 9:10, Sam King 32 pass to Evan Cantrell, Cameron Dawsey kick
Decatur – 1:18, A.J. Martinez 30 run, Armando Benitez kick

SECOND QUARTER

Wylie – 8:44, Cameron Dawsey 33 field goal
Decatur – 4:46, Wilson Hicks 1 run, Armando Benitez kick
Wylie – 0:35, Cameron Dawsey 28 field goal

THIRD QUARTER

Decatur – 9:39, Wilson Hicks 21 pass to Alec Uselton, Armanda Benitez kick
Decatur – 4:02, Wilson Hicks 26 pass to Dayne Chapman, kick failed
Decatur – 0:28, Wilson Hicks 15 run, Benitez kick

FOURTH QUARTER

Wylie – 11:39, Sam King 34 pass to Gatlin Martin, Cameron Dawsey kick
Decatur – 11:22, AJ Martinez 71 run, Armando Benitez kick
Wylie – 8:31, Sam King 2 run, Cameron Dawsey kick.
Decatur – 5:02, AJ Martinez 24 run, Armando Benitez kick

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

RUSHING: Decatur, Wilson Hicks 9-51, A.J. Martinez 24-220.

PASSING: Decatur, Wilson Hicks 18-24-1-206.

RECEIVING: Decatur, Alec Uselton 9-116, Dayne Chapman 2-46, Mario Reyes 3-28, A.J. Martinez 3-16.

Class 4A Division I Area
DECATUR (7-4) VS. ANDREWS (9-2)

7 p.m., Friday
Wilford Moore Stadium, Abilene

DECATUR NOTABLE: The Eagles return to the area round for a second straight year. Decatur is trying to reach the third round for the first time since 2013.

ANDREWS NOTABLE: Andrews has won five straight, including last week’s 48-21 win over Borger. Jake Keesee threw for 272 yards and 2 TDs.

HARRIS LINE: Decatur by 7

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