The score may have been 54-13, but Mineral Wells gave No. 4 Decatur all it could handle in a game much closer than the scoreboard indicated.
“If we took their special teams’ touchdowns away and it was a game,” Coach Gerald Perry said.
At 0-7 on the season, the Rams were looking to be competitive against one of the state’s top teams, and they gave the Eagles all they could handle.
Junior quarterback Ethan Oliver started with a hot hand completing 8-of-9 passing for 65 yards before being escorted to the sidelines by the game’s head official and being pulled as a precaution after a hard tackle by Eagle defenders.
Senior Braden Fryer took over the Rams’ offense and engineered a pair of scoring drives against Decatur’s starting defense. Mineral Wells would come away with only two touchdowns, but the Rams kept threatening and achieved a team goal in the process.
“One of our goals going into this game was to make Decatur keep their starters in the game,” Perry said. “That’s one thing we accomplished until late in the game.”
The Eagles didn’t start substituting until there were five minutes left in the game, and Mineral Wells didn’t stop pushing the envelope. It was risk-taking and some missed tackles that led to big scores by the Eagles who got into the end zone via big plays like a 55-yard pass play, 65-yard punt return, and a 95-yard kickoff return.
The Rams also had their moments with Anthony Hernandez rushing for 80 yards and Fryer connecting with tight end Landon Russell on a two-yard scoring pass and Ethan Marsh on a 10-yarder.
Fryer has several lengthy pass completions with Jayce Holland snagging a 38-yarder and Tristan Gray grabbing one for 24 yards. Fryers eight completions covered 125 of the Rams’ 170 passing yards.
Mineral Wells showed some spunk with an onside kick to open the second half and it resulted in their second touchdown of the night. Later in the contest, the Rams stopped three straight plays where the Eagles needed only a yard for a first down at midfield. A controversial spot and measurement overshadowed a solid defensive effort.
The Rams will turn their attention to previously unbeaten Gainesville. The Leopards fell 38-10 to No. 9 Springtown. Mineral Wells can still make the state playoffs but will need wins against Gainesville and WF Hirschi in their final contest of the regular season. Hirschi was a 27-21 winner over Burkburnett.