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Decatur High tailback Chris Coffey runs over Gardendale's Justin Houchins (36) on his way to 150 yards and two touchdowns in the Red Raiders' 20-3 win at Ogle Stadium on Friday night in the first round of the Class 5A playoffs.
Daily photo by Jonathan Palmer
Decatur High tailback Chris Coffey runs over Gardendale's Justin Houchins (36) on his way to 150 yards and two touchdowns in the Red Raiders' 20-3 win at Ogle Stadium on Friday night in the first round of the Class 5A playoffs.

Decatur blasts Rockets
Coffey's two TDs plenty of points for stingy Red Raiders

By Brooke Milam
bmilam@decaturdaily.com 340-2460

Decatur High running back Chris Coffey said that after a week of studying first-round opponent Gardendale on videotape, the Red Raiders' mission on offense was clear:

"I thought we would have to produce," Coffey said.

The two teams averaged 30 points a game this season, and when they faced off at Ogle Stadium, the Red Raiders got two touchdowns from Coffey and two field goals from Michael Schuster to prevail 20-3 in the opening round of the Class 5A state playoffs.

"They do the same thing week in, week out," junior defensive end Dewan Troupe said with a smile.

"We already knew the offense was going to do their thing again."

Decatur (10-1) will host Benjamin Russell (9-2) on Friday in the second round. Benjamin Russell advanced by beating Scottsboro 35-14.

Coffey's 21 carries for 150 yards led the offensive charge for Decatur. The junior's 17-yard touchdown run capped Decatur's opening drive and put the Red Raiders up 7-0 four minutes into the game.

The Red Raiders never lost momentum.

Coffey scored again on a 3-yard touchdown run six seconds into the second quarter, giving Decatur a 14-0 advantage over Gardendale (6-5).

"The line was on their assignments and did what they had to do," Coffey said. "Really, it was pretty balanced, and I didn't know we were going to run it that much until we got the running game going."

Schuster kicked a 40-yard field goal to close the first half with Decatur ahead 17-0. He added a 30-yarder with 8:37 left for the final margin.

On the other side of a solid offensive effort for the Red Raiders was a Decatur defense that did not break.

And while Decatur coach Jere Adcock said he expected a sharp performance from his defense, he added that they exceeded his expectations.

"I thought if we could hold them to 14 points, we had a chance to win," Adcock said. "I knew we were capable and had a good game plan, but we even played a little better defensively than I thought."

Senior defensive back Aaron Boykin twice batted away passes that were potential touchdowns — once in first half an once in second half. It was part of a defensive showing that Adcock said featured "several tremendous individual efforts."

Gardendale coach Keith Luker said he expected his usually strong offense to be challenged, but when his Rockets reeled off two first downs on its first two plays from scrimmage, it looked like it might be a tough night for Decatur.

Not for long. Gardendale punted on its first three possessions and the rushing tandem of Roscoe Ragland and Trey Hilliard ran for 59 and 18 yards, respectively.

"Defensively, we knew they were a good football team," Luker said. "We knew we couldn't live by the run all night long."

But Gardendale's offensive attack was not limited to the run, and Adcock said he feared a variety of areas of the Rockets' offense.

Most of those fears related to senior athlete Cameron Brewer, who played quarterback in the second half of the season, but also is a top receiver for the Rockets.

Brewer completed 13 of 21 passes for 108 yards and also handled punting duties for the Rockets.

"He came in and did what he could do and gave us a chance," Luker said.

Gardendale's lone score came on 24-yard field goal by Evan Kreider with 2:45 left in the third quarter, cutting the advantage to 17-3.

"We did what we wanted to do, which was keep the ball out of Gardendale's hands with some long drives and keep them on their heels," Adcock said. "I think we definitely earned this one."

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