Posted on 08 November 2014.
The Decatur Eagles appeared on their way to a 4-4A Division I title Friday after Payton McAlister’s fifth touchdown of the night with 5:06 left.
But the Eagles couldn’t get to the finish line.
EAGLES DEJECTED – Decatur players react to their 54-48 overtime loss to Graham Friday night. The defeat cost the Eagles the District 4-4A Division I title. Messenger Photo by Mack Thweatt
The Graham Steers scored with 46 seconds left, recovered an onside kick and then on the final play in regulation added another touchdown before tying the game on a two-point try to force overtime.
Then in the extra period, the Steers pushed the Eagles backward and then won the game 54-48 on its second play, a 9-yard run by Nick Martin.
“You’ve got to play 48 minutes and longer if needed,” said Decatur coach Mike Fuller. “We didn’t finish. I don’t know if we thought it was over.
“It’s something bad, but you can either let it destroy you, define you or strengthen you,” Fuller added.
With the loss, the Eagles (7-3, 4-1) fall to the second seed out of 4-4A I and will take on 3-4A’s Stephenville in the bi-district round Friday at Mineral Wells at 7:30 p.m.
“We’ve just got to start preparing,” said Decatur receiver and defensive back Ryan Durdon, who caught a pair of touchdowns and picked off a pass.
The Eagles staged their own comeback early to get the lead. Decatur fell behind 13-0 in the first eight minutes of the game. The Eagles stormed back to a brief lead, 21-20, on a McAlister 8-yard run with 4:31 left in the first half.
But Graham took a 26-21 lead into the locker room after Landry Turner tossed his third touchdown of the first half to Todd Parker.
The Eagles took back the lead in the middle of the third with Myers scrambling and then hitting McAlister, who broke multiple tackles on the way to a 92-yard touchdown.
McAlister finished with 100 yards rushing and 184 yards receiving.
Myers’ touchdown strike to Durdon with 9:58 remaining stretched Decatur’s lead to eight. A minute later after the Decatur’s second of three interceptions in the second half, McAlister hauled in his third touchdown catch to put the Eagles up 41-26.
The Eagles and Steers then traded scores with McAlister’s 54-yard reception from Myers looking to be the gamewinner as Decatur stretched the lead back to 14, 48-34.
The Eagles’ Jorge Martinez picked off a pass with five minutes remaining to give Decatur a chance to run out the clock. Decatur picked up a pair of first downs before punting the ball away with a few minutes to play.
Down by two scores, Turner wasted no time. He took the Steers 80 yards in just six plays, hitting Derek Sides for an 18-yard touchdown with 46 ticks left.
Decatur couldn’t recover the onside kick on the ensuing kickoff. Graham recovered. Then on second-and-goal as time ran out, Turner scrambled in from 2 yards out. He then connected with Parker on the two-point try to stun the Eagles and send the game into overtime.
“We just didn’t finish. We didn’t do what we needed in the last couple of minutes,” Durdon said.
Turner threw 373 yards, completing 23 of his 35 passes with three interceptions. He also ran for 109 yards and two scores.
FLY LIKE AN EAGLE- Payton McAlister brings the ball down for a touchdown on one of his five scoring plays Friday night. He led the Eagles in receiving, with 184 yards and four touchdown receptions. Messenger Photo by Mack Thweatt
GRAHAM 54, DECATUR 48
Decatur … 7 … 14 … 6 … 21 … 0 … 48
Graham … 13 … 13 … 0 … 22 … 6 – 54
Graham – 8:01, Landry Turner 10 run, kick failed
Graham – 4:30, Todd Parker 66 pass from Turner, Derek Sides kick
Decatur – 2:43, Ryan Durdon 12 pass from Justin Myers, Jorge Martinez kick
Graham – 11:55, Hagen Hughes 16 pass from Turner, Sides kick
Decatur – 9:22, Payton McAlister 14 pass from Myers, Martinez kick
Decatur – 4:31, McAlister 8 run, Martinez kick
Graham – 2:16, Parker 9 pass from Turner, run failed
Decatur – 6:04, McAlister 92 pass from Myers, kick failed
Decatur – 9:58, Durdon 20 pass from Myers, Martinez kick
Decatur – 8:39, McAlister 12 pass from Myers; Martinez kick
Graham – 5:56, Connor Smith 20 pass from Turner, Turner run
Decatur – 5:06, McAlister 54 pass from Myers, Martinez kick
Graham – 0:46, Sides 18 pass from Turner, kick failed
Graham – 0:00, Turner 2 run, Parker pass from Turner
Graham – Nick Martin 9 run
DECATUR … GRAHAM
First Downs … 23 … 23
Rushes-Yards … 45-163 … 39-247
Passing Yards … 369 … 373
Total Yards … 532 … 620
Comp-Att-Int … 21-33-2 … 23-35-3
Sacks-Yards lost … 5-25 … 2-13
Punts-Average … 4-34.25 … 4-42
Fumbles-Lost … 0-0 … 3-2
Penalties-Yards … 6-51 … 9-80
Rushing: Decatur, Payton McAlister 23-100, Justin Myers 15-45, Gunnar Parker 3-4, Ryan Durdon 2-9. Graham, Nick Martin 21-135, Landry Turner 15-109, Derek Sides 1-(minus 1), Hagen Hughes 2-4.
Passing: Decatur, Myers 21-33-2-369. Graham, Turner 23-35-3-373.
Receiving: Decatur, Durdon 6-59, McAlister 5-184, Tanner Shields 5-61, Parker 3-44, Eddie Martinez 1-4. Graham, Martin 5-60, Cameron Patterson 3-37, Sides 6-69, Hughes 2-21, Todd Parker 3-77, Connor Smith 3-50, Casey Cannon 2-39.