Mineral Wells Area News

Downed by Decatur, Rams set sights on playoff play-in game

Downed by Decatur, Rams set sights on playoff play-in game
October 29
10:23 2023

By DAVID MAY

Special to Mineral Wells Area News

DECATUR – Midway through the second quarter on a chilly, windy Friday night, the Mineral Wells Rams were tied with the Decatur Eagles, raising eyebrows on both sides of the field.

Quarterback Owen Gadd hit tight end Kaidin Kaspar on a 9-yard scoring pass to knot the game at seven apiece. The Rams defense then stopped the potent Decatur offense to force an Eagles punt.

Mineral Wells had the ball starting at its own 11 and, having shown success moving the ball, the Rams offense had a chance to control the clock and, if it could piece together a drive, go into halftime tied or with a lead.

Unfortunately, the game began to get way from the Rams at that point. A tackle for a loss was followed by a sack and a three-and-out. Forced to punt from its 7, the snap was fumbled, resulting in a hurried kick that set the Eagles up at Mineral Wells’ 39-yard-line. 

Overcoming two holding calls, Decatur scored on a 17-yard run by running back and TCU commit Nate Palmer to make it a 14-7 game with 1:42 until halftime.

Mineral Wells took over at its 14 following the ensuing kick off. Decatur called timeouts after the first three plays. The Rams coaching staff thought about going for it on fourth-and-2 from its 22, but ended up punting. Kicking into a brisk north wind, and with a good return, Decatur started at the Rams’ 37.

Rams mascot Rambo and the Decatur Eagles mascot have some fun during Friday’s game.

“We considered going for it on fourth down,” said Mineral Wells head coach Cody Worrell afterward. “We had nothing to lose.”

With good field position, Decatur moved to Mineral Wells’ 13. The final minute couldn’t tick off fast enough. Decatur scored on a third-down pass with 4.5 seconds in the quarter to send the teams to intermission with the Eagles leading 21-7, shifting momentum to Decatur.

The Rams were shutout in the second half while Decatur added two third-quarter touchdowns and another in the fourth for a 42-7 win. The Eagles’ Palmer ran for 202 of the Eagles’ 387 rushing yards.

Worrell, in his first year at the Rams’ helm, said he was proud of the team’s effort against Decatur, a Top 20 Class 4A-1 team that finishes its regular season as district champs with five straight wins and a 6-4 record, including an unblemished 4-0 mark in District 4-4A-1.

Rams Head Coach Cody Worrell’s sideline facial expression didn’t match his post-game demeanor. The coach was upbeat about the Rams’ effort against Decatur and the chance to win their last game and make the playoffs.

“Our kids battled their tails off in the first half,” Worrell said. “We had them on the ropes there in the first half and they scored two quick ones on us right before the half. I was super proud of our team.”

Mineral Wells dropped to 3-6 and 0-3 after its fifth-straight loss.

But there was good news for the Rams. Springtown beat Burkburnett, 70-14. That means the Rams can still qualify for the playoffs if they can defeat the Bulldogs in the season finale Friday at Ram Stadium. Burk will bring with them a similar 3-6 record overall, 1-2 in district, for the scheduled 7 p.m. kickoff.

Burk’s district win came two weeks ago against Wichita Falls. They, likewise, will be looking to win and make the playoffs.

Worrell said the Rams will look forward to Friday’s challenge and opportunity, hoping to achieve the team’s pre-season goal of playing a second game in November.

“Absolutely, that’s our goal is to get in,” said Worrell, noting that point differentials could come into play to decide which team advances. “We need to cross our T’s and dot our I’s. It’s a big game. We need the community there to get behind these kids and get fired up and be loud.”

Worrell noted the team continued fighting till the end Friday. The Rams’ offense put together a good drive on the game’s final possession, moving into Decatur’s end of the field. But with the clock winding down and the game long decided, Worrell opted not to press it and let the game end.

“We got down there in the fourth quarter,” he said. “We put some subs in. We didn’t want to get anybody hurt. Fortunately we did that. They are good football team and well coached. I am just proud of our kids for not quitting.”

Next Friday will come down to which team, Mineral Wells or Burkburnett, wants to make the playoffs more than the other.


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