SANGER — Sanger and Decatur played like their lives depended on it Friday night.
Both teams sprinted to a combined for 1,135 total offensive yards and 109 points in the battle for second place in District 9-3A, but Sanger came up short in the regular-season finale in a 56-53 loss at home.
“We [both] have high-powered offenses,” Indians quarterback Wyatt Broxson said. “Both teams know what to do under pressure.”
After seeing its early 17-point lead fade to a two-score deficit in the final quarter, Sanger (6-4, 2-2 district) answered nearly every score from Decatur (7-3, 3-1) until the final horn.
Indians head coach Chuck Galbreath said he was proud of his players for battling for better postseason positioning.
“You can’t really be upset with the young men when they gave you all they got,” Galbreath said. “I feel like our kids gave us all they got, played all 48 minutes, and we just came up a little bit short.”
Sanger held a playoff spot entering the matchup and will open the first round at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Denton’s Bronco Field in a rematch against Frisco Lone Star. The Indians topped the Panthers 42-35 on Oct. 4 at home.
“We drew a good first-round game, and we already beat them,” said Broxson, who finished with 393 total yards and and accounted for five touchdowns on Sanger’s senior night. “They’ll [Lone Star] have a grudge against us, but we beat them once and we can beat them again.”
Indians running back Tre’von Jackson, who rushed 25 times for 113 yards and two scores to go along with six catches for 45 yards and another touchdown, had bigger postseason dreams.
“I want to make it all the way, but you never know what will happen,” Jackson said.
Sanger jumped out to an early 17-0 lead before both teams traded a flurry of touchdowns with the Indians taking a 31-28 advantage into the break.
Decatur quarterback Grayson Muehlstein struck first in the second half on a 34-yard pass to wideout Cain Lowe to give the Eagles their first lead of the game. Muehlstein diced Sanger’s defense for 349 passing yards and six touchdowns — all of which went to Lowe, who ended with 12 catches for 219 yards.
In the final quarter, Lowe tossed a reverse pass to Austin Givens to extend the Decatur lead, but Broxson answered right back with a 9-yard option keeper and two-point conversion to cut the deficit to 42-39 with 6:47 remaining.
“There was no doubt from the beginning [of the season] that he could be our quarterback,” Galbreath said of Broxson. “I’m very confident that he can lead our football team, and he’s doing a tremendous job.”
Jackson scored in the final four minutes, before Muehlstein answered with a 9-yard pass and Broxson responded with a 70-yard pass to Kyle Link.
Muehlstein tacked on the final blow with an 11-yard screen pass to Lowe that became the final score.
Decatur 56, Sanger 53
SN — Tre’von Jackson 25 run (Dakota Branch kick)
SN — Wyatt Broxson 44 run (Dakota Branch kick)
SN — Dakota Branch 32 FG
DU — Levi Rust 2 run (Clark Allen kick)
DU — Cain Lowe 2 pass from Grayson Muehlstein (Clark Allen kick)
SN — Tre’von Jackson 19 pass from Wyatt Broxson (Dakota Branch kick)
DU — Cain Lowe 44 pass from Grayson Muehlstein (Clark Allen kick)
SN — Derek Shelby 24 pass from Wyatt Broxson (Dakota Branch kick)
DU — Cain Lowe 42 pass from Grayson Muehlstein (Clark Allen kick)
DU — Cain Lowe 34 pass from Grayson Muehlstein (Clark Allen kick)
DU — Austin Givens 36 pass from Cain Lowe (Clark Allen kick)
SN — Wyatt Broxson 9 run (Kyle Link pass from Wyatt Broxson)
SN — Tre’von Jackson 1 run (Dakota Branch kick)
DU — Cain Lowe 9 pass from Grayson Muehlstein (Clark Allen kick)
SN — Kyle Link 70 pass from Wyatt Broxson (Dakota Branch kick)
DU — Cain Lowe 11 pass from Grayson Muehlstein (Clark Allen kick)
Rushing — DU: Grayson Muehlstein 22-103, Levi Rust 13-68, Eddie Martinez 2-17, SN: Wyatt Broxson 14-155, Tre’von Jackson 25-113, Derek Shelby 11-51, Damien Hallowell 1-5.
Passing — DU: Grayson Muehlstein 21-31-0-349, Cain Lowe 1-1-0-36, SN: Wyatt Broxson 17-26-0-238, Logan Thomas 0-1-0-0.
Receiving — DU: Cain Lowe 12-219, Austin Givens 7-147, Gage Frank 2-10, Levi Rust 1-9, SN: Kyle Link 5-96, Derek Shelby 3-66, Tre’von Jackson 6-45, Damien Hallowell 3-31.