Decatur survives late rally, hangs on to beat Mineral Wells

By Reece Waddell | Published Friday, October 26, 2018.
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With 10:34 left in the fourth quarter, Roman Fuller found Dayne Chapman on a 1-yard curl to put Decatur up 45-21 over Mineral Wells.

The score gave the Eagles a three-possession lead and command of the game. Then, the Rams came roaring back.

Messenger photo by Joe Duty.

Mineral Wells scored 21 straight points in under eight minutes, aided by an onside kick recovery with 1:44 left. The Rams scored a quick touchdown and forced a three-and-out to get the ball back with 22 ticks left, but their furious rally fell just short, as Decatur hung on for a thrilling 45-42 victory at Eagle Stadium.

“That’s two times in the last three weeks a team with one loss has come to Eagle Stadium and gone home with two,” said Decatur coach Mike Fuller. “They’re a good football team. We overcame so many things. Guys had to step up and adjust. I couldn’t be [prouder].”

After Chapman scored the Eagles’ final touchdown, Mineral Wells quarterback Drew Huff ignited the Rams’ comeback bid with a 4-yard score. Decatur’s next drive stalled near midfield, and Mineral Wells partially blocked the ensuing punt to set them up near midfield.

The Rams quickly marched into the red zone, with Preston Garrett finding a seam and plunging into the end zone from 9 yards out.

With 1:44 remaining, Mineral Wells attempted an onside kick and recovered, and 52 seconds later, scored again on a Huff touchdown pass to make it 45-42. Decatur recovered the next Ram onside kick, but Mineral Wells forced another three-and-out to get the ball back for one last gasp.

Messenger photo by Joe Duty.

The Rams’ final play — a hook-and-ladder — was stopped by the Eagles near midfield to give Decatur the critical District 4-4A Division I win.

“If we had it to do over again, I think managing the game wise, I’d still do it the same way,” Fuller said. “We needed to slow down. The first punt got blocked and they weren’t really trying to block it. We lost our focus a little bit. But the thing that changes games is the onside kick. They don’t give you extra points for winning by more so we’re just glad we got it done.”

Roman Fuller ended the night an efficient 31-of-39 through the air, completing 82 percent of his passes for 485 yards and five touchdowns. Senior Beau Bedford led the Eagles in receiving, hauling in nine catches for 164 yards and a touchdown.

Decatur racked up over 500 yards of total offense in the win and took a 28-14 lead into halftime.

The Eagles improved to 3-5 overall and 2-1 in 4-4A I, taking over sole possession of second-place. They hold the head-to-head tiebreaker over Wichita Falls Hirschi, who is also 2-1 in league play, with two regular season games remaining.

“This was a huge win,” Bedford said. “We were tied for second place and Mineral Wells came in here 6-1. We just really showed our stuff and it all clicked tonight. It boosts our confidence a lot.”

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