Decatur edges Andrews, wins area title for second straight year

By Reece Waddell | Published Friday, November 23, 2018.
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With under three minutes remaining in the 4A Division I Region I area game, Decatur faced fourth-and-inches from the Andrews 41-yard line.

After calling a timeout, Decatur coach Mike Fuller left his offense on the field. Needing less than a yard to put the game away, quarterback Roman Fuller pulled the ball on a run-pass option and tossed a slant to Dayne Chapman for the first down and then some

Roman Fuller hit Chapman in stride for a 41-yard score, sealing the Eagles’ 41-28 win over Andrews at Shotwell Stadium in Abilene Friday night.

“Roman made a gutsy decision there,” Coach Fuller said. “He had the option and saw the linebacker he was reading was selling out to stop that inch. Dayne ran a great route. That’s teammates trusting each other.”

The win will likely set up a rematch with District 4-4A I foe Wichita Falls Hirschi in the region quarterfinal next week. Hirschi will play Lake View Saturday and is favored by 42 points, according to the Harris Ratings.

Messenger photo by Joe Duty.

Decatur stunned Hirschi 22-21 in the district opener in one of the biggest upsets of the year. It would be the second straight season the Eagles and Huskies have met in the region quarterfinal. Hirschi ended Decatur’s playoff run last year, knocking off the Eagles 58-28.

Decatur finished the regular season 4-6 overall after a disappointing loss to Gainesville in the regular season finale. Since then, Decatur has won two straight and piled up more than 500 yards of offense in each of its playoff wins.

The Eagles racked up 598 total yards against Andrews.

“We’ve been playing hard since week one,” said junior running back Gunner Ragsdale. “We’ve had some big losses, but ever since then we’ve been firing back. Credit to the coaches for coaching good games, and credit to the players for playing [really] hard. I’m just glad we’re here. I’m really excited.”

Messenger photo by Joe Duty.

Ragsdale led the charge for the Eagles on the ground, churning out 153 yards and a touchdown on 24 carries. His score from a yard out with 7:34 left put Decatur up for good.

“They were tough yards,” Coach Fuller said. “He broke a lot of tackles and ran through stuff — protected the football. He did a great job. I can’t say enough about him and the offensive line.”

Ragsdale also caught two touchdowns, hauling in five catches for 54 yards. A.J. Martinez led Decatur in receiving, catching nine passes for 134 yards and a touchdown.

His score with under two minutes left in the first half tied the game at 14.

Roman Fuller finished 33-for-41 through the air, completing passes to seven different receivers for 416 yards. In the Eagles’ two playoff wins, he has thrown for 882 yards and 10 touchdowns with one interception.

Coach Fuller said he was proud of how his son and the team have performed the past two weeks.

“He’s done an incredible job,” Coach Fuller said. “What I’m most proud of — with him and our whole team — is the gauntlet and adversity we went through early, particularly after that first game. Having to show up the next day after that stat line — realizing it’s a team game — having to hear the things he had to hear and the team having to hear the things they’ve had to hear all year long, it just proves if a group of kids will block out the people who don’t matter, they can accomplish whatever they set out to do.”

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