Decatur upsets Dumas, wins bi-district title

By Reece Waddell | Published Friday, November 16, 2018.
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After dropping their final game of the regular season to Gainesville 49-48 last week, the Decatur Eagles held a meeting immediately when they got back to campus.

Decatur was 4-6 — finishing the regular season under .500 for the first time since 2012. The loss also dropped the Eagles to fourth in District 4-4A Division I entering the playoffs.

Messenger photo by Joe Duty.

“We met Friday night when we got back to the school and everyone decided we weren’t ready to be done,” said Decatur coach Mike Fuller. “We had a great week of practice and when the stakes were the highest we played our best.”

For the first time all year, Decatur put together a full game on both sides of the ball.

The Eagles’ defense forced four turnovers and held a Dumas team averaging 36.4 points to just 21. Offensively, Decatur racked up 541 yards, as the Eagles upset the 3-4A I champion Demons 48-21 Friday night at Southwestern Oklahoma State University.

“We had a lot to prove tonight,” said senior receiver Beau Bedford. “Getting beat by a Gainesville team that shouldn’t even be in the water with us — coming back and beating a No. 1 seed feels really good.

“We’ve just been waiting for that game where we all put it together, and I think tonight was the night we finally put it together.”

Bedford was quarterback Roman Fuller’s favorite target all night, hauling in 11 passes for 183 yards and two touchdowns. He had several critical receptions in the fourth quarter to keep the Eagles’ 14-play. 7-minute drive alive.

“He’s always open,” said Roman Fuller with a laugh.

Messenger photo by Joe Duty.

Decatur worked its way down the field before Gunner Ragsdale plunged into the end zone from four yards out. That score put the Eagles up 48-21 with under five minutes remaining, ending any hope for a Dumas comeback.

“That was one of my favorite drives of the whole year,” Coach Fuller said. “[We were] going slow, had a couple big third downs we converted [and] a fourth down.”

Junior running back A.J. Martinez, who missed the final two games of the regular season with an ankle injury, returned and gave the Eagles a jolt on offense. He ended the night with 158 yards and a touchdown on eight catches.

Martinez also broke off Decatur’s longest play of the night — a 78-yard catch and run to put the Eagles up 41-21 late in the third. Martinez caught a pass in the seam, made one man miss and hit the jets for the score.

Messenger photo by Joe Duty.

The touchdown was Roman Fuller’s fifth of the game. He completed 81 percent of his passes, going 34-of-42 for 459 yards and no interceptions.

“That kid is a stud,” Bedford said. “He’s really stepped up. I couldn’t be prouder of him. He’s one of my best friends.”

With the win, Decatur advances to the 4A Region I Division I area round and will take on Andrews next week. The Eagles beat the Mustangs in the same round last year.

After a tumultuous regular season and grueling non-district schedule, Decatur rose to the challenge Friday night. With its season on the line, the Eagles finally put it all together to pick up its biggest win of the season.

“I think just perseverance,” Coach Fuller said. “We’ve been through the fire this year and had a lot of ups and downs. We’ve played the best that the state has to offer and realized it’s tough. Our kids kept working.”

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