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SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 17, 2007
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Decatur's Pete Brown, left, celebrates a late touchdown for the Red Raiders in their 45-42 triple overtime win over Benjamin Russell at Ogle Stadium on Friday night. With the victory, the Red Raiders advance to the third round of the Class 5A playoffs.
Daily photo by Jonathan Palmer
Decatur's Pete Brown, left, celebrates a late touchdown for the Red Raiders in their 45-42 triple overtime win over Benjamin Russell at Ogle Stadium on Friday night. With the victory, the Red Raiders advance to the third round of the Class 5A playoffs.

'A great football game'
Decatur outlasts Benjamin Russell in 3 overtimes to move to 3rd round

By Brooke Milam
bmilam@decaturdaily.com 340-2460

Decatur High senior Daniel Crampsey searched for the words to describe how the Red Raiders pulled off a triple-overtime win in the state playoffs.

When Friday night ended, Decatur had scored a 45-42 victory over Benjamin Russell at Ogle Stadium in the Class 5A second round.

"At first, we couldn't find it inside ourselves. Then we found it. We lost it again, and then we found it, and we won," Crampsey said.

"If you know you might never play again, you find it somewhere."

That was a good way to describe the back-and-forth battle that was tied three times in regulation and stretched into three overtimes.

Senior kicker Michael Schuster ended it with a 22-yard field goal that put Decatur in the quarterfinals for the first time since 2002.

Crampsey, a senior defensive tackle, sat out the last month of games because of injury but was back for what he called "probably the most exciting game I've ever played in."

Decatur (11-1) racked up its 11th straight win and will play at Cullman (12-0) next week in the quarterfinals.

Cullman advanced by beating Chelsea 41-25.

Benjamin Russell's season ended at 9-3 and first-year Wildcats coach Mike McCombs said his team lost to a worthy opponent in an exciting contest.

"Decatur is a great football team, and it was a great football game," McCombs said. "We made some plays tonight that we probably haven't made all season."

Schuster's field goal ended an exhausting night for both sides, which were tied 28-28 at the end of regulation.

Even in defeat, Benjamin Russell senior quarterback Casey Cutts produced a big night. He rushed for 237 yards on 34 carries with two touchdowns, and completed 19 of 32 passes for 136 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Cutts also punted four times for a 33.8 average.

"I can't say enough about what Casey has done," McCombs said. "I look forward to seeing him play somewhere next year. He's a great competitor and an even better person."

McCombs said Cutts has not committed to a college for next season, but his impressive performance Friday night dealt the Red Raiders all they could handle.

In a game in which both teams came out passing, Decatur's running game proved to be the edge.

"We ran the ball really well on them," Adcock said. "We told them, 'We're going to have to run the football to win this game.' "

Decatur junior Chris Coffey rushed for 144 yards and two touchdowns and also added four catches for 22 yards and another score — all hard-earned yards, Coffey said.

"I thought (Benjamin Russell) defended the run great," said Coffey, who scored two touchdowns in overtime. "I had to work extra hard. It wasn't near easy."

Decatur struck first on the opening possession of the game. The Red Raiders scored on junior fullback David Martin's 2-yard touchdown catch from sophomore quarterback Ben Neill.

Benjamin Russell's senior quarterback Casey Cutts rushed 55 yards for a touchdown to get the Wildcats started, giving his team a 7-6 lead at the end of the first quarter.

Cutts' 4-yard pass to Kendall Graveman gave Benjamin Russell a 14-6 advantage in the second quarter. Neill's 1-yard run and shuffle pass to Coffey for the 2-point conversion tied the game at 14-14 with 2:59 left in the half.

After Dewon Troupe picked up a Wildcats' fumble on the Benjamin Russell 10-yard line and ran it into the end zone, Decatur had a 21-14 lead at halftime.

"Our defense was on the field a lot and they did a lot of things to make sure we won this ball game," Decatur head coach Jere Adcock said.

Benjamin Russell's Akaris Daniels' 1-yard touchdown run midway through the third again tied the game at 21-21. Coffey's 69-yard touchdown run with 1:36 left in the third gave Decatur a 28-21 lead heading into the fourth.

Coffey reached the end zone twice in overtime, first catching a 4-yard pass from Neill and again on a 2-yard run.

Benjamin Russell opened overtime by scoring on a 1-yard pass from Cutts to Trey Bennett. In the second overtime, Cutts threw another 5-yard pass to Bennett to keep the game going.

In the third overtime period Benjamin Russell's 35-yard field goal attempt went wide left, and Schuster sealed the win, making good on a 22-yarder on Decatur's ensuing possession.

In the end, it was Decatur's win, and Coffey said it was the most exciting one he's been a part of.

"You're always hungry," Coffey said. "This is a really big deal, and we left it all out on the field just like our coaches told us to."

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