Decatur and Felton continue winning

Decatur High School beat Arabia Mountain High School 26-14 in football on homecoming night Sept. 17 in Decatur, just days after Decatur Head Coach William Felton was named the Atlanta Falcons’ Coach of the Week for week three of the GHSA fall sports season.

Felton credited his team for the win and the coach of the week award, stating that the award went to his players.

“That’s another testament to our kids’ hard work and dedication; I’m just a figurehead,” said Felton. “That’s all that meant. The award went to them.”

One of the players who made the 4-0 start possible was defensive lineman and running back Chapman Smith. Smith said he knew he had to step up after defensive lineman Marquis Hood went down with an injury. In Hood’s place, Smith picked up four sacks and scored a touchdown on offense.

“I knew it was going to happen. One of our main guys went down and I had to step up,” Smith added. “I can be a leader on the field on both sides of the ball and showed that tonight. We faced some adversity against their running game, but we made up for it on defense.”

Smith scored Decatur’s second touchdown of the night after quarterback Harrison Hannah connected with Jacob Rachell for the Bulldogs’ first touchdown. 

Hannah doubled up on the third Bulldog-touchdown when he found Kedric Lacey on a 15-yard touchdown pass. Lacey hauled the pass in at Arabia Mountain’s 12-yard line and made three or four defenders miss on his way to paydirt.

Felton said his receivers are one of Decatur’s strengths, along with the other skilled players who make Decatur what Felton calls a matchup nightmare.

“When you have four or five guys that people have to prepare for, it’s hard for them to single in on one guy. That keeps us versatile on the offensive standpoint. Let alone all of the backs we have,” said Felton. “We’re a matchup nightmare at times and we can give ourselves more opportunities on offense because we have multiple playmakers.”

Decatur Head Coach William Felton said his wide receivers and running backs create matchup nightmares for opponents.

Isaac Cone added to Decatur’s lead with a 22-yard field goal, and linebacker Cameron Wingo put the finishing touches on the game when he sacked Arabia Mountain in the end zone for a safety with 1:06 left to play.

Despite the loss to Decatur (4-0), Arabia Mountain (3-2) kept the game close and tied the game late in the third quarter. The Rams were led on offense by their dynamic running back tandem of Chris Barnes and Soloman Rayton. Barnes scored both of Arabia Mountain’s touchdowns. 

Decatur’s players and coaches said they knew Arabia Mountain’s rushing attack would be hard to defend, but Smith said Decatur altered its game plan and changed its personnel to adapt to Arabia Mountain’s different running backs.

“When adversity comes, we’re not going to shy away from it. Trying to go undefeated means you’re going to go through a lot of hurdles, and this was definitely one of those tests. The guys showed they were going to be resilient,” said Felton.

The win marks Decatur’s second consecutive 4-0 start. The Bulldogs have also started 2-0 for three consecutive seasons, after losing the season opener every year between 2013 and 2018. 

“4-0 start just means we’re on the right track again,” said Felton.

Decatur will be back in action Sept. 24 at 7:30 p.m. at home against Stone Mountain High School, while Arabia Mountain has a chance to bounce back Sept. 24 against Stephenson High School at Hallford Stadium.

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