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Decatur Heritage quarterback Brayden Kyle finds his way through the Ragland defense for part of his 358 yards rushing on 18 carries. Kyle set an state record by accounting for 11 touchdowns. [CALEB SUGGS/DECATUR DAILY]

Decatur Heritage’s Brayden Kyle has been the talk of the state in high school football circles since last Friday.

That’s what happens when you rush for eight touchdowns, throw for three more and account for 629 yards and 68 points in your team’s 76-60 playoff victory.

Still there’s one number that has been overlooked that is important to Kyle. In the second half when both teams were scoring at a dizzying pace and the numbers were changing on the scoreboard like a pinball game, Kyle made a big play on defense.

“We needed a stop and they put me in at middle linebacker,” Kyle said. “It was an all-out blitz rush and I sacked their quarterback.”

That sack goes down as just another crazy moment in an amazing game. As Decatur Heritage head coach Steve Meek said, “I’m just glad Brayden was on our team that night.”

The game was what you could call a shootout, but it wasn’t a normal high school football shootout. Decatur Heritage led 49-24 at halftime.

“I remember walking off the field at halftime and thinking we’ve scored nearly 50 points in a half,” Kyle said.

Meek didn’t think the 49 points at halftime would be enough.

“I had seen enough film on them to know that they could do some things in the second half that would hurt us,” Meek said.

One thing Ragland did was play defense. The Purple Devils stopped Decatur Heritage on its first two possessions of the third quarter to force two punts.

Ragland also made a big play in the kicking game with a kickoff return for a touchdown. Decatur Heritage countered with two successful onside kick recoveries.

“We kept scoring and they kept scoring. We couldn’t waste away time on the clock. So we just tried to keep the ball away from them,” Meek said.

Kyle said that he was told that in a 60-second span of time on the stadium clock in the fourth quarter there were five touchdowns scored. Three were for Decatur Heritage and two for Ragland.

“When the game ended I was totally gassed,” Kyle said. “It was surreal to think we had scored 76 points. The 11 touchdowns were just ridiculous.”

Being able to walk off the field after rushing for 358 yards on 18 carries and throwing the ball 18 times for 11 completions and 271 yards seems like a sure fire way to be gassed.

Handling the work load may not have happened if Kyle had not changed his summer routine. Instead of playing AAU basketball like he normally does, Kyle devoted his time to getting his body prepared for the physical toll of the football season. Despite all that work, Kyle went into a full body cramp after the 29-27 loss at Colbert Heights on Aug. 26.

“I was stuck to the kitchen floor that night for 2½ hours,” Kyle said. “Every time I tried to move, all my muscles would cramp up. I started to wonder if I would ever get off the floor.

“During the game at Ragland, I could feel my calves starting to tighten up a little. I drank a Liquid IV and tried to stretch while I was on the sideline. On the bus ride home I was able to put the seat in front of me down and stretch out my legs.”

Kyle said he slept until 11 a.m. on Saturday. He then went to visit his aunt who is a masseuse.

“I was pretty sore, but the massage helped a lot,” Kyle said. “I was still sore Monday. By Tuesday I felt like I was back 100 percent.”

Friday’s win has brought a lot of media attention to Decatur Heritage, at least more than a Class 1A program would normally receive.

Before Meek could even step off the field at Ragland, a radio station called wanting an interview. One TV station interviewed Kyle on Saturday. Two more visited the school on Monday. A fourth is scheduled to drop by today.

When the question comes up on how a performance like that could happen Meek has a ready answer.

“He’s a Hoss. When you play in big games like this, you go with your Hoss.”

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 david.elwell@decaturdaily.com or 256-340-2395. Twitter @DD_DavidElwell.

(4) comments

Joseph Dupper

By the way, it's funny how I posted that in my screen name, and now somehow my real name is up there. I have no animosity towards the Kyle's and have counted them as friends for over 20 years. Very shady that my name was changed. It was meant to be an anonymous post, which is what screen names are for, but since obviously you somehow know someone at the paper who has the ability to tell you my real name and actually change it on my post from my screen name to my real name, sheds light on what type of person you are. I won't hide from my opinion - it's not even a debatable opinion for those of us who are knowledgeable about all the classes in football in the state.

Joseph Dupper

That's what happens when a high level athlete plays in the lowest class of football. He should dominate because he's not playing against any competition.

Will Johhson

Mr. Dupper Brayden could walk into any program in north Alabama and be the starter. Also, before you say he plays no competition let me ask, Have you attended a Heritage game? If not, make plans to come watch Friday night!

Joseph Dupper

I'm not knocking him. I know he's a great athlete. But he's playing 1A ball. He should do that well and I'm glad for him. I'm good friends with the Kyle's and have been for a long time. He would probably start at a lot of 6A schools, maybe even some 7A schools. But he will be playing against, in the second round of the playoffs, teams with 2-3 D 1 athletes on both sides of the ball. And the video game stats at that level aren't produced by anyone. I coached at that school for two years. I started the football program. I know the level of talent at 1A sports. Any elite athlete will and should completely dominate at that level. It looks good and all, but its absolutely no reflection on how he would do when all the players on the field are at or near his talent level. That was my point. I have continued to support DHCA football since I left coaching there, have been to many of their games, and would go to tomorrow's game to root them, as I've done in the past, but I'm out of town. I'm happy for Brayden, he deserves all the accolades he is getting, but please don't delude yourself and think he would dominate in big boy football like he does playing 1A teams. That fact isn't even up for discussion. That was the only point I was making. Thanks for your input.

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