SPORTS HEADLINES

Football: Eagles eager for rematch

By Reece Waddell | Published Wednesday, November 29, 2017
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Moving Ahead

MOVING AHEAD – Decatur sophomore A.J. Martinez follows a block from Alec Uselton to get up field during the Eagles’ win over Andrews. Decatur will play Hirschi Friday in Denton. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

The Decatur Eagles have not lost a game since Oct. 20, rattling off five consecutive victories en route to the 4A Division I regional round.

And on Friday at 7 p.m. at the C.H. Collins Complex in Denton, Decatur will have a chance to avenge its last defeat when the Eagles take on District 4-4A Division I nemesis Hirschi.

The Huskies beat the Eagles 69-36 back in October, with running back Daimarqua Foster rushing for a school-record 580 rushing yards and five touchdowns.

Foster has 2,879 yards and 40 touchdowns this season, averaging 239.9 yards per game.

The Eagles know if they hope to contain Foster and not let him have another big day, they will have to control the line of scrimmage.

“The game starts in the trenches, and we have to win those battles up front,” said Decatur senior linebacker Harrison Haney. “Our D-line has to get penetration to force [Foster] to find new lanes.”

Offensively, Decatur got a key weapon back last week against Andrews when senior receiver Dane Fitzgerald returned from injury. Fitzgerald did not play in the Oct. 20 loss to Hirschi, recovering from a broken sternum.

While he caught four passes for 79 yards and a touchdown in the Eagles’ win over the Mustangs, he was not Decatur’s leading receiver. Senior Mario Reyes hauled in six catches for 156 yards and three touchdowns against Andrews.

One of quarterback Wilson Hicks’ top targets during Fitzgerald’s absence, Reyes is eager to get another crack at the Huskies. Decatur’s offense sputtered in the second half of the October loss, scoring 12 points in the final two quarters.

Reyes, who has caught 50 passes for 937 yards and 14 touchdowns this season, was held to just three catches for 32 yards the last time the Eagles and Huskies squared off.

“We’re very anxious [to play them again],” Reyes said after last Friday’s win over Andrews. “They embarrassed us in our home stadium, and now we’re going to play them in Denton. It’s going to be a fun atmosphere.”

Decatur is currently on a five-game winning streak and beat Abilene Wylie 48-34 in the bi-district round before defeating Andrews 55-48 in the area game.

Meanwhile, Hirschi is on a four-game winning streak, as the Huskies have defeated Brownwood and Estacado in their first two playoff games.

Hirschi’s win in October was the program’s first over Decatur. Hirschi is making their first trip to the third round since 1998.

With a win over Hirschi, Decatur would advance to the region final and take on the winner of Argyle vs. Stephenville. The Eagles lost to both of those teams earlier this season as well, falling to Stephenville 41-20 and Argyle 62-21.

First things first, however.

Decatur must take care of business against the Huskies if they want an opportunity to exact more revenge on schools who knocked them off in the regular season.

“It’s hard to beat somebody twice,” said Decatur coach Mike Fuller said. “It’s not very often in the same year you get a chance to flip the script on somebody or turn the tables. We’re thankful we have an opportunity to do it.”

DECATUR 55, ANDREWS 48

Decatur … 14 … 28 … 6 … 7 … – … 55
Andrews … 14 … 21 … 7 … 6 … – … 48

FIRST QUARTER

Andrews – 7:37, Noah Lujan 33 pass from Jace Keesee, Jaden Brown kick
Decatur – 7:11, Mario Reyes 20 pass from Wilson Hicks, Armando Benitez kick
Andrews – 5:21, Noah Lujan 19 pass from Jace Keesee, Jaden Brown kick
Decatur – 1:55, Wilson Hicks 2 run, Armando Benitez kick

SECOND QUARTER

Andrews – 10:40, Jace Keesee 14 run, Jaden Brown kick
Decatur – 9:33, Mario Reyes 8 pass from Wilson Hicks, Armando Benitez kick
Decatur – 8:09, Jhett Parker 75 punt return, Armando Benitez kick
Andrews – 6:57, Marcos Bustamante 43 pass from Jace Keesee, Jaden Brown kick
Decatur – 5:30, Mario Reyes 65 pass from Wilson Hicks, Armando Benitez kick
Decatur – 3:18, Wilson Hicks 1 run, Armando Benitez kick.
Andrews – 2:25, Jace Keesee 14 run, Jaden Brown

THIRD QUARTER

Decatur – 10:37, A.J. Martinez 43 pass from Wilson Hicks, kick failed
Andrews – 3:29, Casey Buck 2 run, Jaden Brown kick

FOURTH QUARTER

Andrews – 9:52, Jace Keesee 3 run, kick failed
Decatur – 5:01, Dane Fitzgerald 17 pass from Wilson Hicks, Armando Benitez kick

DECATUR … ANDREWS

Rushes-Yards … 34-193 … 45-168
Passing Yards … 434 … 369
Total Yards … 627 … 537
Comp-Att-Int … 26-39-0 … 23-43-0
Punts-Average … 1-29 … 2-40.5
Fumbles-Lost … 1-1 … 0-0

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

RUSHING: Decatur, A.J. Martinez 18-108, Wilson Hicks 10-43, Mario Reyes 1-23, Dane Fitzgerald 5-19. Andrews, Jace Keesee 22-71, Britin Garcia 14-88, Casey Buck 8-30, Jaden Brown 1-(minus 21).

PASSING: Decatur, Wilson Hicks 26-39-0-434. Andrews, Jace Keesee 23-43-0-369.

RECEIVING: Decatur, Mario Reyes 6-156, Beau Bedford 4-61, Alec Uselton 8-72, A.J. Martinez 4-66, Dane Fitzgerald 4-79. Andrews, Noah Lujan 9-125, Britin Garcia 2-56, Vito Prieto 3-66, Marcos Bustamante 1-10, Casey Buck 3-39, Nehemiah Flores 3-46, Alfredo Rodriguez 2-27. …

CLASS 4A DIVISION I REGIONAL

DECATUR (8-4) VS. HIRSCHI (10-2)

at 7 p.m., C.H. Collins Athletic Complex, Denton

DECATUR NOTABLE: The Eagles have won five straight since falling to Hirschi Oct. 20. Decatur has averaged 60.4 points over the last five games.

HIRSCHI NOTABLE: Hirschi is in the third round for the first time since 1998. The Huskies recorded their first win over Decatur Oct. 20, winning 69-36 behind 580 yards and five touchdowns from Daimarqua Foster.

HARRIS LINE: Hirschi by 3

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