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Football: Long-awaited redemption – Eagles rally to beat Wylie, win bi-district

By Reece Waddell | Published Saturday, November 18, 2017
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Sweet Taste of Success

SWEET TASTE OF SUCCESS – Decatur’s Colby Murillo kisses the 4A Division I bi-district trophy after the Eagles’ win over Abilene Wylie Friday. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

It had been a long time coming for the Decatur Eagles.

Thirteen years, to be exact.

But on Friday night in Graham, Decatur finally exacted revenge on Abilene Wylie more than a decade after the Bulldogs spoiled the Eagles’ 2004 playoff run. Behind a big second half from quarterback Wilson Hicks and running back A.J. Martinez, Decatur knocked off Wylie 48-34 in the 4A Division I bi-district round.

“These kids really don’t deserve the pressure of [this game],” said Decatur coach Mike Fuller. “But in 2004 Decatur had a tremendous football team. I’ve been hearing about Abilene Wylie since I got here. None of these kids played in that game and none of their kids played in that game, but it still feels good for our town.”

Decatur advances to the area round for a second straight season and will take on Andrews, who defeated Borger 48-21 Thursday.

Although the Eagles eventually prevailed, Decatur got off to a slow start.

Wylie took its opening possession down the field for a touchdown, and after Hicks’ only interception of the game, the Bulldogs took a shot on a play action pass to go up 14-0.

On the ensuing Decatur possession, the Eagles went three-and-out and were forced to punt it back to Wylie. Already down 14-0, Decatur desperately needed a jolt.

They got one when the Bulldogs muffed the punt.

That was all Hicks and the offense needed, as the Eagles turned Wylie’s blunder into points. Already in Bulldog territory, Hicks took the option and tossed to Martinez, who found the end zone for the first of his three touchdowns on the night.

“He’s such a powerful runner,” Hicks said of Martinez. “He can break tackle after tackle.”

But Hicks had a game of his own, accounting for four touchdowns, two on the ground and two through the air, in the victory.

In the second half, Fuller dialed up several play-action passes down the seam, something Hicks said was used to exploit Wylie’s Cover 3, single safety coverage.

Decatur outscored the Bulldogs 34-14 in the second half, highlighted by a Hicks touchdown pass over the middle to Dayne Chapman that gave the Eagles a 27-20 edge they would not relinquish.

“In the first half they weren’t really doing anything special, we just kinda hurt ourselves with the pick in the beginning,” Hicks said. “Coming into the second half we just got laser-focused and started executing more.”

Next up for the Eagles is trying to get past the second round for the first time since 2013. But Decatur is up for yet another challenge – they aren’t ready for this playoff run to end any time soon.

“I think the group I have right now is something special,” Martinez said.

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