QUARTERFINALS PREVIEW: Decatur vs. Wichita Falls football
Each week teams inch closer and closer to the UIL Football State Championships week. This week, teams from around Texas will go head-to-head in the quarterfinals hoping to continue advancing. One of the matchups featured on CW33 this week includes what could very well be an intense battle between the Decatur Eagles and Wichita Falls Coyotes. VYPE DFW breaks down what fans can expect from these teams headed into round four!
Decatur Eagles (10-3, 4-0)
The Decatur Eagles were able to learn from their early season misfortune and get back on track after starting the season with three losses against Anna, Wichita Falls Rider, and reigning state champion Stephenville. Using their first three games of the season to pick up on any holes in their gameplay, the Eagles got better with each outing. Through preseason play, the Eagles went on to defeat the likes of Pampa, Alvarado, and Wichita Falls Hirschi before headed into district play where they posted a 4-0 undefeated record to finish at the top of their district. The Eagles have outscored their opponents by 255 points this season.
Led by Nate Palmer, Landon Felts, Devin James, Preston Escobar, and more, the Eagles offense is a finely tuned machine. They have been able to set the tone from the start of the game and continue to do whatever it takes to control the tempo. Palmer leads the team in rushing and scoring with an average of 152 yards per game with 29 touchdowns to his name while Felts leads in receiving with an average of 42 yards per game- just behind Felts are both Hunter Smith (averaging 38 per game) and Luke White (averaging 35 per game). Escobar has recorded 22 passing touchdowns and 16 rushing touchdowns. The defense, which is just as good as their offense, is led by the likes of Brody McClure Antwan Gilbreath, Wyatt Vinzant, and more.
So far in playoffs, Decatur has shut out two different opponents while ending the seasons of Pampa (55-0), Andrews (42-15), and Amarillo Randall (41-0).
Wichita Falls Coyotes (9-4, 3-1)
Wichita Falls enters the fourth round on a five game win streak. The team posted a great preseason record defeating the likes of Hereford, Plainview, and Iowa Park. Headed into district play, the team secured big victories against Burkburnett, Big Spring, Dumas, and Mineral Wells- their only district loss coming against Decatur. The Coyotes have outscored their opponents by over 100 points this season. Finishing second in their district, the Wichita Falls Coyotes are on the hunt to reclaim all bragging rights against the Eagles.
Led by Cameron Gould, Ke'ondrae Fleeks, Eric Powell, John Ledesma, and more, the offense has been able to put up big plays when it matters most. With the ability to make timely decisions, senior quarterback Ledesma has thrown 20 touchdown passes. Gould leads the team in rushing and scoring with an average of 121 rushing yards per game and 21 touchdowns to his name. Fleeks leads the team in receiving with about 57 yards per game; he also has eight touchdowns recorded. Powell has scored 11 touchdowns this season while rushing an average of 64 yards per game. The defense has been a powerful force while being led by Gould, Ivy Kelley, Ayden Ramirez, and more.
So far in playoffs, Wichita Falls has held their opponents to a combined 36 points while scoring 87 of their own. The Coyotes have ended the seasons of Dumas (15-10), Big Spring (31-7), and Brownwood (41-19).
What To Expect
Just six weeks removed from facing each other in the regular season- this match, by all intents and purposes, is another rematch in the Dallas-Fort Worth area this week. The only difference is: this time the winner advances to the state semifinals while the loser's season is completed. Decatur defeated Wichita Falls 45-31 and will be looking to do the same. There's no question that the Eagles have used every moment to tune up, learn the best communication practices, and be prepared for anything that comes their way. However, the Wichita Falls Coyotes aren't going to just give up. Having already seen the Eagles in action while putting up an intense, close fight, the Coyotes can be expected to do whatever it takes to advance to the semifinals. This match is anyones game to win as both teams can be expected to leave it all on the field.
Kick off is set for 7 p.m. at Denton ISD's C.H. Collins Stadium. If you aren't able to make it out to Denton for the game, be sure to tune in on CW33!