Elderly abuse seminar warns of ID theft

Local law enforcement and First Financial Bank joined forces last Tuesday at the Decatur Civic Center to talk about ways people can avoid identity theft.

It’s a crime that affects 15 million victims a year, many of whom are unaware, Sheriff David Walker said.

One scam involves the thief cold-calling victims and telling them they won the lottery. Another one, which is being used to prey on older people, involves the thief calling elderly people and claiming to be their grandson, in jail in Mexico and in need of money.

“If you won the lottery, they’re not going to call you,” Walker said. “People are also being scammed by saying they won the Canadian lottery – there is no Canadian lottery.”

Bridgeport Police Chief Randy Singleton also spoke, saying he has even experienced this crime.

“Someone called the other day and hit me up for money and tried to scam me, and I said, ‘I’ve been a cop for 40 years, you think I’ve got any money?'” Singleton joked. He went on to tell the story of a Bridgeport resident who lost $100,000 in one year from a scam where thieves in Jamaica promised the resident money upon the receipt of a pre-paid cash card.

“These people are relentless,” Singleton said. “They want your money, and they won’t stop until they get it.”

The seminar was put on in coordination with First Financial Bank of Decatur, which is seeking to eliminate identity theft in Wise County.

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Cross Country: Silver wings – Kyle brings home medal

Cross Country: Silver wings – Kyle brings home medal

In a crowded, tough field, Decatur junior Jessica Kyle patiently waited for her opportunity Saturday before going on the attack.

The strong runner used the hills on the back side of the course to move past her competitors and into medal contention. Kyle then was narrowly edged in a 200-meter footrace to the finish line by Levelland’s Morgan McCutchen for the 4A crown at the University Interscholastic League’s cross country state championships.

Bringing Home Hardware

BRINGING HOME HARDWARE – The Decatur Lady Eagles cross country team finished second Saturday at the University Interscholastic League championships in Round Rock. The Lady Eagles tallied 100 points in the 4A race. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

Kyle took second and the individual silver medal in 11:48.51 on the 3,200-meter course at Round Rock’s Old Settlers Park. McCutchen claimed the gold in 11:45.98.

“Coming in, something like this was never expected,” Kyle said still catching her breath after the race.

Kyle is the Lady Eagles’ first top-three medalist since Hanna Galloway in 2010. It’s the second consecutive year that a Decatur runner finished on the medal stand with Taylor Clayton winning the 3A boys race in 2013.

With the expanded field for this year’s race thanks to the inclusion of four additional teams and several individuals, Kyle faced the same problem as most runners early in the race – just trying to find running room.

“At the beginning, I was boxed in and was hit a few times,” she explained.

Race to the Finish

RACE TO THE FINISH – Decatur’s Jessica Kyle tries to chase down Levelland’s Morgan McCutchen at the finish line of the 4A race Saturday. Kyle took second in 11:48.51. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

She hit 500 meters, running in the top 25 just a few seconds off the lead. But as the race hit the hills on the back side of the course, Kyle went to work picking off runners.

“In the back, there are a lot of hills,” she said. “I used the hills to move up. I kept pushing and pushing like I know how.”

On the levy with 1,000 meters to go, Kyle moved up to third and kept her surge going, moving within three seconds of the lead. Kyle overtook second and that set up the showdown with McCutchen up the final hill.

“The last 400 meters, I tried to get past her,” Kyle said. “I didn’t have it in me.”

But her time and race on a humid day and a wet course impressed Decatur coach David Park.

“We unleashed her today,” Park said. “That 11:48 is on a whole different course than the past.”

With Kyle’s finish near the top, the Decatur Lady Eagles brought home the team silver medal.

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Cross Country: Lady Eagles stay on podium

Under the bright sunshine at Round Rock’s Old Settlers Park, the Decatur Lady Eagles once again made the state podium their personal nest.

For the ninth time in 10 years and the seventh straight season, the Lady Eagles ended the year with a spot on the medal stand Saturday at the University Interscholastic League cross country championships.

Dual Medals

DUAL MEDALS – Decatur’s Jessica Kyle won two silver medals Saturday as part of the second-place team and finishing as the second individual in the 4A final. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

The Lady Eagles brought home silver medals and the 4A runner-up trophy, finishing with 100 points. Bandera edged Decatur for the state crown with 90.

“I’m proud of these kids,” said coach David Park. “We got our seven in front of everyone else’s five, and we nearly accomplished that goal. Give Bandera’s four and five credit – they ran great. This is why we run this.

“We wanted to be champs, but we’re happier than Dalhart and Liberty Hill.”

Dalhart, who edged Decatur for the Region I crown last week by the inclusion of the sixth runner, tied Liberty Hill for third with 128. Dalhart took the bronze medal with its sixth runner finishing six spots ahead of Liberty Hill’s.

Bandera put three runners in the top 12 – Sandy Clarkin seventh, Karla Presa 10th and Mercy Yermo 11th.

The Lady Eagles’ front five all finished in the top 56, led by Jessica Kyle, who took second overall in 11:48.51 on the 3,200-meter course.

In her final cross country race, Nicole Neighbors took 21st in 12:31.34.

“It’s great being on the medal stand four years in a row,” Neighbors said. “I’m so proud of them. They’ve worked so hard this year.”

Neighbors was named the Texas Girls Coaches Association’s 4A cross country all star after the meet.

The senior showed her veteran savvy, fighting to move up several spots in the last 600 meters. She started the race in the middle of the pack, reaching the first 500 meters in 30th.

“It took a while further in the race than expected to thin out,” Neighbors said. “I probably jumped over six girls. There were elbows flying.”

Decatur’s two freshmen on the course – Taylor Butler and Elizabeth Culpepper – posted top-50 finishes. Butler ran 12:42.81 for 34th. Culpepper finished 46th in 12:51.25.

“It was nerve-racking,” Butler said. “But you knew it was going to be OK because you have your team with you.

“We wanted to win, but we’re happy with second because we worked so hard all year. It’s sad because Nicole and Lluvia [Ramos] are graduating, and we really became a family. Next year, we have to work even harder. I’ll give my all. I want to get into the 11s.”

With the addition of four teams and several individuals, the start was crowded. Butler said fellow freshman Culpepper was knocked around by another runner – and admitted she stepped up and gave a little shove back.

“She’s like my sister, and if anything happens, I react bad,” Butler said. “I said don’t push her, and shoved her.

“It’s a tough race and tough competition. It was tough packed up at the line.”

Georgina Palomo was the fifth Decatur runner to cross the finish line in 56th in 12:56.22.

Ramos took 59th in 12:58.29. Paola Palomo crossed in 13:05.02 for 72nd.

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Football: Eagles try to swat ‘Jackets

The District 4-4A Division I title got away from the Decatur Eagles last week on the final play of regulation and overtime.

But now the Eagles immediately get a chance for redemption in a new season – the playoffs.

The Eagles (7-3) start the postseason at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Mineral Wells against the Stephenville Yellowjackets (6-3) in a Class 4A Region I bi-district tilt.

“I’ve always believed each week stands on its own,” said Decatur coach Mike Fuller. “We can use the lessons from last week and if we took anything from it is that we can play with anybody.”

After a rough opening seven minutes, the Eagles stood toe-to-toe with a top-10 team and led by 14 with less than a minute to go. Graham then scored a pair of touchdowns, got an onside kick and made a two-point try in the final 46 seconds to force overtime.

“Ten things had to go perfect for them and they got them all,” Fuller said. “We played great but not a perfect game. Neither side did. But I felt we were the more physical team and made a lot of great plays.”

The Eagles’ challenge this week does not get easier, facing a Stephenville team that began the season ranked No. 1 in multiple polls. But three setbacks in the regular season, including district losses to Big Spring and Abilene Wylie, dropped the Yellowjackets to third in 3-4A Division I.

The Yellowjackets also lost Division I, five-star quarterback prospect Jarrett Stidham early in the loss to Big Spring. Anthony Chavarria has taken over under center and has thrown for 668 yards, completing 45 of his 70 passes for six touchdowns in seven quarters.

“He’s a great passer. He’s not the runner that Stidham is but still capable of making plays,” Fuller said.

The Decatur coach said running back Keagun Williams is a pivotal part of the Stephenville attack. Williams has 947 yards rushing and 49 catches for 806 yards.

“He’s their best player. They like to get him the ball any way they can,” Fuller said.


7:30 p.m. at Ram Stadium in Mineral Wells

Notable: Payton McAlister had 284 total yards and 5 TDs against Graham last week.

Notable: As a reserve, Stephenville quarterback Anthony Chavarria has thrown for 668 yards and 6 TDs in 2 games.

Harris line: Stephenville by 17

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Football: No shortage of will – McAlister’s desire to win pushes back

Payton McAlister’s lack of size and the perceptions it gives others are his greatest weapon.

“I like to prove people wrong,” McAlister said. “I’ve always been called short.”

Playing Tall

PLAYING TALL – Decatur running back Payton McAlister has turned in huge plays for the Eagles all season, including a five-touchdown performance last week against Graham. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

This season, the 5-foot-8-inch sophomore back has played a huge role for the playoff-bound Decatur Eagles. McAlister’s 26 touchdowns lead the Eagles. He’s rushed for 1,029 yards and 17 touchdowns. He’s added nine receiving scores, hauling in 32 catches for 591 yards.

Last week with the District 4-4A Division I title on the line, McAlister scored five touchdowns and tallied 284 total yards in the Eagles’ 54-48 overtime loss.

“I was just playing hard and trying my best to help the team,” McAlister said.

On his big night, the sophomore turned in one of the most electrifying plays of the year, catching a short pass from Justin Myers then breaking tackles to rumble into the end zone for a 92-yard touchdown reception.

“I knew we needed to score,” McAlister said. “I was scrambling around trying to get Juice’s [Myers] attention. He got me the ball. Tanner [Shields] helped pick me up after I was hit. Then I knew I had to make [a defender] miss.”

Decatur coach Mike Fuller said the play was just another example of McAlister’s tremendous will.

“He’s just a tremendous competitor,” Fuller said. “He has a desire to win. He decided he was not going to go down.”

That will is one of the reasons the Eagles call his number near the goal-line. The sophomore back usually can fight through tacklers to get into the end zone.

“I’m going to try my best to get in and get that final five yards or what’s needed,” McAlister said.

It’s on those short-yardage runs where his small stature and low center of gravity is his greatest weapon along with strength from hours in the weight room.

“When I got here in March, I would get here at 6 in the morning and his mom would drop him off to get some extra lifting in,” Fuller recalls.

McAlister credits those predawn workouts with helping him to success this season.

“I’m always trying to get bigger and work really hard in the weight room,” McAlister said. “I’m up here every morning but game day. Lifting is a big part of football.”

Along with his strength, Fuller credits McAlister’s intelligence on the field with helping him become the player he is, especially in the passing game.

“He understands routes and what he needs to do,” Fuller said.

McAlister credits that to being the son of a former head football coach.

“I’ve grown up around the game,” he said. “My dad coached for 16 years. He got out when I was in seventh grade because he wanted to watch me play.”

With his father out of coaching, it’s allowed him to settle into a school for the first time at Decatur.

“I’ve been to six or seven schools,” he said. “This is the longest I’ve stayed at a school.”

While turning in the strong season, McAlister has been also fighting a lingering injury – a cracked pelvis that he suffered during two-a-days.

“I’ve had to be careful with it. It’s not 100 percent but it’s better,” McAlister said.

Like any doubts, that injury has not slowed him down – only provided more fuel.

“There will always be doubters,” McAlister said. “I like being the underdog.”

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Volleyball: Lady Eagles dispose of Iowa Park in 3

Volleyball: Lady Eagles dispose of Iowa Park in 3

The Decatur Lady Eagles continued their defense of last year’s state championship with a solid 25-5, 25-16, 25-8 win over Iowa Park in the Class 4A Region I area match Saturday at Jacksboro.

Area Champs

AREA CHAMPS – A jubilant Lady Eagles volleyball team poses for a photo opportunity in Jacksboro Saturday after sweeping Iowa Park. Decatur is scheduled to play Stephenville Tuesday evening in Weatherford, with the winner earning a berth in regional tournament at Snyder. Messenger photo by Bob Buckel

Decatur (32-9) led 15-4 in the first game before Iowa Park was able to put a kill on the floor. After a missed serve, Caroline Lowery went to the serving line for Decatur and the Lady Eagles scored the next 10 points unanswered.

Lowery had an ace, Makayla Mayfield and Emily Oxford had kills, and Cooper Martin dinked one in – but several points also came on blocks as the Lady Hawks had no answer for Decatur’s lineup at the net.

In the second set, things got a little more interesting as Decatur had a few lapses in communication that allowed balls to fall in.

Decatur jumped up 7-1 early, but Iowa Park kept hanging around. It was 16-6 when a long pause in the action to discuss an Iowa Park substitution seemed to throw the Lady Eagles off their rhythm.

After Mayfield landed a kill, a Decatur block went out of bounds, then a serve went long. It was 22-10 when Decatur missed a dig, Iowa Park landed a dink and Decatur let an easy ball drop.

Iowa Park blocked a kill, then Decatur was called in the net on a kill and it was 22-15, with lots of excitement on the Iowa Park side.

But when Martin pounded a kill to the floor, Lowery went back to the serving line at 23-15.

After a kill by Iowa Park, Mayfield answered with a hard cross-court kill from the side to end the rally.

The third set started with a long rally that ended when Martin put down on another kill. It was 4-2 before successive kills by Courtnie Roberts, Mayfield and then Roberts again prompted an Iowa Park timeout.

The Decatur girls went on an 11-1 tear to finish off the match, led by Mayfield, Martin, Lowery and Roberts. Setter Stormi Leonard ended the contest with a patented dink shot that made it to the floor.

Leonard finished with 33 assists to go with her six digs, a kill, an ace and a block.

Mayfield had a strong match at the net with 20 kills. She also had nine digs and two blocks. Martin put down 10 kills to go with four digs, a block and an ace.

Maclaine Lowery made 20 digs as Decatur defended most of Iowa Park’s hits at the net. She also served two aces.

Caroline Lowery finished with six kills, six digs and four aces. Roberts put down five kills and had three blocks and three digs.

Oxford had two kills and a block, and Taylor Uselton had a dig.

The loss ended Iowa Park’s season at 22-18.

Decatur moved on to play Stephenville in the 4A Region I quarterfinal Tuesday in Weatherford. With a victory, the Lady Eagles would earn a trip to the 4A Region I tournament Friday and Saturday at West Texas College in Snyder.

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Basketball: Decatur wins in season opener

Macen Stripling poured in 26 points to lead the scoring Monday night in Decatur’s 67-55 season-opening win over Lake Country.

Stripling, who ended the season last year as one of the top reserves in the area, grabbed six boards to go along with her big scoring night.

“She did a great job,” said Decatur coach Billy Garner. “She kept the ball alive and grabbed some rebounds.”

Playing her first game in more than a year, Jasmyne Tate nearly recorded a triple-double with 17 points, eight rebounds and seven assists.

“She played great, especially being off that long,” Garner said.

Shelby Drews, the Wise County MVP from 2014, finished with 13 points and four rebounds.

Decatur led 25-18 at halftime and broke the game open in the third quarter with a 22-16 run, building a 47-34 lead.

“It’s not a bad start. We played good defense in the first half,” Garner said. “We still have a long ways to go but I’m happy with the first game.”

Hannah Dunning and Macee Reed chipped in five points apiece. Sidney Carter handed out five assists to go along with her one point.

Decatur will take on Northwest at home Monday at 7:30 p.m.

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Kelly Wade Couch

Kelly Wade Couch, 53, a truck driver, died Friday, Nov. 7, 2014, in Decatur.

No service is scheduled at this time.

Kelly was born Oct. 27, 1961, in Tahoka to Herman and Francis (Abbney) Couch. He married Kelli Ingram July 1, 2001, in Lubbock.

Survivors include his wife of 13 years, Kelli Couch of Rhome; daughters Amber Couch of Lubbock and Chelsea Sherrob of Kingsville; three grandchildren; brothers John Couch of Azle and Spud Couch of Weatherford; sisters Tonya Oldham of Lubbock and June Ann Beaty of Lubbock; and other relatives and friends.

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Catherine M. Fortune

Catherine M. Fortune, 61, a homemaker, died Thursday, Nov. 6, 2014, in Decatur.

Catherine was born March 13, 1953, in Arlington to Bobby and Trudy (Young) Pierce. She married Tommy Fortune Feb. 8, 1973, in Fort Worth.

She was preceded in death by her parents and her brother, Bobby Pierce.

Survivors include her husband of 41 years, Tommy E. Fortune of Boyd; daughter Elonda Fortune of Arnold, N.D.; grandchildren D.J. Brooks and Tre Fortune; brother Ray Pierce of Fort Worth; sister Elonda Fay Patterson of Justin; and numerous nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.

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Hal Curtis Jones

Hal Curtis Jones

Hal Curtis Jones, 59, an IT technician, died Friday, Nov. 7, 2014, in Decatur.

Funeral is 11 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 12, at Christian-Hawkins Funeral Home in Boyd with the Rev. Mark Autry officiating. Burial is at Boyd Cemetery.

Pallbearers are Randy Medlock, Randy Kelton, Brad Carter, Tom Sanderson, Bryan Goll and Chase Hawley.

Hal was born March 9, 1955, in Dayton, Ohio, to Earl and Glenna (Stacy) Jones. He married Bobbie Daniels Aug. 10, 1994, in Boyd.

He was preceded in death by his father.

He is survived by his wife of 20 years, Bobbie Jones of Boyd; son Danny Jones and wife, Jurgita, of Paradise; daughters Megan McAvoy and husband, Johnny, of La Porte, Katie Rogers and husband, Jonathan, of Boyd, and Sarah Jones of Boyd; grandchildren Lukas, Jacob, Kyleigh, Tristen, Hadyn, Ryder, Carson, Andie and Ashlyn; his mother, Glenna Jones of Ohio; brother Toby Jones of Ohio; sister Karen Snowden of Haslet; and numerous nieces, nephews and friends.

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Mildred Louise Traw

Mildred Louise Traw

Mildred Louise Traw, 83, died Thursday, Nov. 6, 2014, in Decatur.

Mildred was born April 3, 1931, in Olivet, Kan., to William and Marjorie (Caukins) Neilson. She married Floid Traw July 6, 1947, in Lyndon, Kan. She was a retired factory worker.

She was preceded in death by her parents.

Survivors include her husband of 67 years, Floid Traw of Decatur; daughter Diana Masullo and husband, Nick, of McKinney; son Floyd Randall Traw and wife, Diane, of La Verne, Calif.; grandchildren Jason, Daniel, Morgan, Andrew, Matthew and Jameson; six great-grandchildren; her brother, James “Bud” Neilson; sister Thelma Pollom; and numerous nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.

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Meeting Previews for Saturday, November 8, 2014

DECATUR CITY COUNCIL – When they meet at 6 p.m. Monday at City Hall, the Decatur City Council will consider a rate increase request from Progressive Waste Solutions for residential and commercial garbage service for 2015. Also on the light agenda is a request to close some streets for the Chamber of Commerce’s “Moonlight Madness” parade Saturday, Dec. 6, and a couple of appointments – Brian Bosworth as a reserve police officer, and Murvelle Chandler to the Zoning Board of Adjustment. The meeting is open to the public.

BOYD SCHOOL BOARD – The Boyd school board will meet 6:30 p.m. Monday for its regular meeting. The board will hear an update on construction of the ag barn and will discuss softball field renovations and improvements, as well as budget amendments to cover those expenses. The board will also hear a report on the No Child Left Behind, NCLB, Highly Qualified Report.

COUNTY COMMISSIONERS – Wise County commissioners meet twice next week. The first meeting – 9 a.m. Monday – will include the discussion of putting together a hiring committee for the newly created systems coordinator position. (See related story on page 1A.) Commissioners will also consider revising county committees, and they will tend to regular business, including consideration of bids, roadway and construction joint venture project agreements and plats. The second meeting is 10 a.m. Wednesday to canvass the votes from the Nov. 4 election. The agenda also says commissioners will accept the resignations of County Judge Glenn Hughes and Precinct 4 Commissioner Gary Potts. Commissioners will turn around and appoint people to fill those posts, most likely the winners of Tuesday’s election. Both meetings will be held in the third-floor conference room of the Wise County Courthouse. They are open to the public.

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Football: Slipping away – Graham scores twice in 46 seconds, forces OT, takes title

Football: Slipping away – Graham scores twice in 46 seconds, forces OT, takes title

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

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

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


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


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.

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Saturday Sports Buffet: Fabulous run to top – Four freshmen helped Decatur to record performance

Taking the course at Old Settlers Park in November 2008, Veronica Torres and her fellow freshmen didn’t experience the expected nerves of reaching the big stage at the University Interscholastic League cross country championships.

“It was all so new to me,” Torres recalled. “Being a freshman, you didn’t realize how big of a deal it was.”

RECORD SETTER – The Decatur Lady Eagles 2008 cross country team of Cynthia Carrillo, Veronica Torres, Rebecca Roose, Natalie Neighbors, Hanna Galloway, Zuleima Palomo and Bianca Morrison won the 3A title with just 27 points. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

Running with that youthful exuberance, Torres and the rest of the Fab 4 – Bianca Morrison, Zuleima Palomo and Natalie Neighbors – helped the Decatur Lady Eagles turn in a performance for the ages on the way to capturing the program’s third state title. With the four freshmen, Decatur captured the 3A state crown with a record-low 27 points. All seven Decatur runners finished in the top 19.

“That’s awesome. We didn’t realize what we’d done till later,” Palomo said.

No one can remember exactly how the group of freshmen became the “Fab 4.”

“I didn’t come up with it,” said Decatur cross country coach David Park. “It just stuck with them.”

As talented junior high runners, Park had identified Palomo and Neighbors as prospects to join his talented holdovers Hanna Galloway, Rebecca Roose and senior Cynthia Carrillo.

“Z and Natalie were on the radar from junior high,” Park recalled. “Bianca was a sprinter, and we didn’t know how that would translate to cross country. Veronica just came on, and it all came together.

“It’s unusual to have that kind of group.”

And they quickly learned what to do – follow Carrillo and any orders she gave.

“She was the momma duck and kept all of us in line,” Morrison said.

Park added: “What Cynthia told them was the gospel.”

But as Neighbors explained, Carrillo knew how to push their buttons and kept the mood light.

“Cynthia was fun to be around. She didn’t make it too serious,” Neighbors said.

The Lady Eagles rolled into the district meet ranked No. 1 in the state. They proved worthy of the ranking, taking seven of the top nine spots at district, winning with 22 points.

The Lady Eagles scored 30 points, winning the region title and securing a spot in Round Rock.

While being the top-ranked team put a target on the Lady Eagles at state, Morrison said she and her fellow freshmen didn’t notice.

“None of us had any idea of what was going on,” she explained. “We never felt any pressure. Everyone was supportive. We had a group of parents that were supportive.

“We knew we had a job to do. There was never any stress.”

When the gun fired, the Lady Eagles just did what they had done all season – stay together and follow Carrillo.

“We were so used to running in a pack. We just stayed together,” Palomo said. “We didn’t realize how close to the front we were.”

Crossing the levy, it was evident to much of the crowd that Decatur would bring home the title.

“On the levy, when the girls were passing by, another coach said congrats,” Park recalls. “I said there’s still three-quarters of a mile to go. He said, ‘unless they fall in the lake, it’s over.”

Carrillo took top prize in 11:34. Galloway followed her in third. Morrison finished in fourth, Palomo fifth, Roose 14th, Neighbors 16th and Torres 19th.

After the race, the Lady Eagles nervously awaited on the results.

“We all thought we lost,” Neighbors said. “We were all huddled in a corner.”

Park then went over to his team with his head down, acting like he was getting ready to deliver disappointing news. Then he ripped off his jacket to reveal the T-shirt saying “Decatur State Champions.”

“When he unzipped the jacket and we saw the shirt, we went to jumping and screaming,” Neighbors said.

The Fab 4 also reached the top of the podium as sophomores, capturing a second state title. They guided the Lady Eagles to silver medals as juniors and stayed on the podium as seniors, earning bronze.

But that freshman year is still special to the Fab 4.

“There was such a family feeling. It was the best year,” Palomo said. “Everyone worked together well.”

The success continues now off the running course for the Fab 4. Morrison is an advertising major at the University of Texas. Palomo is also at UT, going to nursing school. Torres is attending Texas A&M, and Neighbors is attending Dallas Baptist University.

Park said it’s not a big surprise to see all four doing well after their running careers have concluded.

“All four are really awesome kids. They were always smart,” he said. “It makes you feel good to see them go on and do good.”

Palomo will be back in Round Rock Saturday to cheer on her sisters. She knows there will also be thoughts of the Fab 4.

“I want that for them,” Palomo said.


  • I’ve covered a lot of football games and sporting events but can’t recall many stranger endings than Thursday night’s Northwest and Keller game. With the lead, Northwest is forced to go for a fourth-and-12 at its 12-yard line in the final minutes of the game. Then, after picking up the first down and apparently getting into field-goal range, a penalty moves the Texans back to their 31-yard line. When Northwest fails to convert on a fourth down with 13 seconds left, Keller gets the ball back and takes a knee to run out the clock in a 35-33 loss. Its crowd then erupts in celebration for its team losing but getting a playoff berth. Northwest players leave the field stunned to have won but falling two points shy of nailing down a playoff spot. As someone said on the field after the game, “That’s not right.”
  • One more thought on Northwest: Emmanuel Moore, who returned a kickoff 98 yards and caught an 11-yard touchdown pass, may be the most electrifying player in the area in quite some time. If UNT lands him, it will be happy
  • It’s my favorite sleepless weekend of the year as I make the trek from a high school football game to Round Rock for the University Interscholastic League championships. There will be a stop in West for kolaches. It could be a very special Saturday for Wise County teams. Decatur, Paradise and Slidell have shots to be on the podium. A state title for Decatur is not out of the question
  • It’s the fifth anniversary of the Lady Eagles’ last crown and also a great moment that had little to do with the final result. In her final cross country race, Decatur’s Sutton Young helped a fellow competitor Lucas Lovejoy’s MacKenzie Miller off the ground and to the finish line. Young after the race said, “I knew it would make my day if someone had stopped to help me.”
  • Next week, several area athletes will sign letters of intent. Paradise pitcher Dillon Meadows will ink his letter with TCU to play baseball. Northwest’s Cassidy Adams and Baylee Nelson will sign with UNT
  • Adams and Nelson will be the newest additions for UNT from Northwest. Northwest alums Troy Taylor and Zack Kirkland helped the Mean Green to a Conference USA title last weekend. Taylor finished the four-mile race in 24:15, finishing third
  • Decatur alum Bobbi Clemmer netted TCU’s lone goal on a penalty kick Wednesday in the Horned Frogs’ 2-1 loss at the Big 12 championships
  • It’s a big week for the Big 12 with TCU playing host to Kansas State and Baylor heading to Norman to play Oklahoma. Losses by TCU and Baylor would likely leave Big 12 out of the Final Four
  • Still don’t understand why NFL teams would give up home gates to go play in London. It’s one thing I can agree with Jerry Jones about.

Posted in Sports0 Comments

Rodeo: Tucker wins chute dogging

Decatur’s Camerron Tucker completed his run in chute dogging in 2.891 seconds to win the event last weekend at the North Texas High School Rodeo Association event.

Tucker also took second in steer wrestling with a time of 4.883.

Jake Cobb finished fourth in calf roping in 12.587. Carolyn Spear took fourth in steer undecorating with a run of 1.504.

Northwest’s Grady Payne won the steer wrestling in 4.583. He was second in chute dogging recording a 2.923.

Alexis Barfield won the poles in 20.637.

Bull rider Luke Harris scored a 72 to get the win. Colton Kelly finished third with a 60.

Trinton Barfield took third in steer wrestling with a run of 6.7.

Dana Sheets was eighth in walk-up goat tying with a time of 10.129.

Tyler Norton came away with fourth in chute dogging with a run of 3.442, and Cole Gerrek seventh in 4.329.

Alvord’s Tanner Baker finished eighth in calf roping with a 19.023.

Paradise’s Paitane Brown garnered sixth in steer undecorating with a run of 2.198. With Ty Meals header and Carson Tucker as the heeler, the duo finished sixth in team roping with a time of 14.213.

Posted in Sports0 Comments

Volleyball: Lady Eagles ready to get back on court – Decatur meets Iowa Park in area match

Since their quick sweep of Venus Monday, the Decatur Lady Eagles have been sequestered to the gym, practicing for their next match.

To senior setter Stormi Leonard, it can’t get here soon enough.

“We really want to play,” Leonard said. “This is the longest break we’ve had all season. We’re ready to go. We’re tired of practicing.”

Leonard gets her wish at noon Saturday. The Lady Eagles will take on old district rival Iowa Park in a Class 4A Region I area round match in Jacksboro.

While the two teams have not been in the same district since 2009, there is plenty of history between the programs. Iowa Park is the last team to prevent Decatur from winning a district title, back in 2008.

The two have met several times in the regular season and at tournaments over the years.

“We’ve played them so often over the years and I grew up playing them that it’s like a rivalry,” Leonard said. “It’s always a good match.”

Iowa Park, the runner-up in 5-4A, outlasted Brownwood in five games Tuesday to reach the area round. Iowa Park won the fourth game 33-31 to force the fifth set, which it took 15-10.

Decatur had a far less stressful match in bi-district, sweeping Venus, 25-6, 25-3, 25-7.

“It was a good match for us. We spread the ball around,” Leonard said. “In every playoff game , our goal is to get better.”

Posted in Sports0 Comments

Drivers: be on the lookout for migrating deer

On Monday evening, Nov. 3, I was traveling on U.S. 81/287 when out of the darkness came a huge deer. There was no time to react – one second I am driving at the speed limit, the next I am eye-to-eye with a full-grown buck deer.

In that brief flash, I remember what my dad has always said: “Animals do cross the road in our path. If you encounter this … do not slam on your brakes! Go ahead and plow through it, then pull over.”

That is exactly what happened. The aftereffects of this situation are very traumatic. Panic attacks about driving at night are one side effect. Having flashbacks is another.

If this should happen to you, I strongly advise these words of wisdom. A lot of people will swerve, overcorrect and cause more harm to themselves than necessary.

A second thing is to alert the authorities. My fear, as I was going through a mental checklist on the side of the highway, was where is the deer? Is it in the road? Will it cause other vehicles to swerve? The authorities are trained to handle these situations. Get help immediately.

The third thing I was able to do was to turn off the vehicle. If your vehicle is leaking any fluids and you are able to exit safely, do so. Get to a safe distance. If your vehicle is in the road, if you are able, get out and get to the safety of the median or to the shoulder in the grass – way out of the way of traffic, especially on a busy highway where trucks and large vehicles are traveling at high speeds.

This accident has opened my eyes to the fact that we share this world with all of nature. What can happen will happen. No one is immune to this happening to them.

As I talked with Trooper Patterson I found out that deer accidents were happening more often than normal right now. They are migrating due to hunting season or mating. I was so thankful to find out that the deer ran off and was not a hazard to other drivers.

The whole experience is one I will remember and learn from. It has taught me that even when we are being an alert driver, accidents can still happen.

I honestly believe I was spared to continue being a wife, mother and grandmother. I’m thankful for each new day.

Kim Saling

Posted in Letters to the Editor0 Comments

Lester Edward Jolley

Lester Edward “Ed” Jolley

Lester Edward “Ed” Jolley, 78, died Thursday, Nov. 6, 2014, in Decatur.

Funeral is 11 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 8, at Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Catholic Church in Decatur with Father Thomas Dsouza officiating. Burial will follow at Oaklawn Cemetery under the direction of Coker-Hawkins Funeral Home in Decatur.

Pallbearers are Andrew Rottner, Rob Fothergill, Chuck Boatner, Tom Long, Jerry O’Flaherty and Spencer Hodge.

Honorary pallbearers are the Wise County Veterans Group and Braniff Airline employees.

Ed was born Aug. 25, 1936, in Powhatan, La., to Joe and Loretta (Harkins) Jolley Sr. He married Ellen Ann Robson Aug. 6, 1966, in Shreveport, La. Ed was a retired airline pilot. He was a member of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Catholic Church in Decatur and was a member of the Wise County Veteran’s Group.

He was preceded in death by his parents; his son, Joseph A. Jolley; and brothers Joe Jolley Jr. and Hugh Jolley.

He is survived by his wife of 48 years, Ann Jolley of Decatur; sons Edward R. Jolley and wife, Cindy, and John S. Jolley and wife, Teri, all of Marlborough, Mass.; daughter Mary Jolley of Decatur; eight grandchildren; and numerous nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.

Memorials may be made to the Decatur Library Foundation, 1700 FM 51 South, Decatur, TX 76234; American Cancer Society/Relay for Life/Wise County Unit, P.O. Box 428, Decatur, TX 76234; or Susan G. Komen North Texas, P.O. Box 261730, Plano, TX 75026.

Posted in Obituaries0 Comments

Naira Ebel Aronda

Gerardo Aronda and Saira Diaz of Decatur announce the birth of a daughter, Naira Ebel Aronda, on Nov. 3, 2014, at Wise Regional Health System in Decatur.

She weighed 6 pounds, 10 ounces and was 19 1/4 inches long.

She has two sisters: Aline Melissa,1, and Alizee Masoly, 2.

Grandparents are Alicia Diaz, Juan Barrios, Delfina Lozano and Antonio Aronda.

Great-grandparents are Guadalupe Garcia, Salvador Barrios, Cruz Diaz, Angela Casas, Antonio Aronda, Silvesira Rivas, Manuel Lozano and Paula Hernandez.

Posted in New Arrivals0 Comments

Kaydence Lee Kuehl

Sabrina Sherwood and Michael Kuehl of Decatur announce the birth of a daughter, Kaydence Lee Kuehl, on Oct. 30, 2014, at Wise Regional Health System in Decatur.

She weighed 8 pounds, 14 ounces and was 19 inches long.

She has one brother, David Sherwood, 2.

Grandmother is Donnetta Sherwood of Decatur.

Posted in New Arrivals0 Comments




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