HILLSBORO - Stephenville (8-1, 4-0) wrapped up its third district championship in five years under head coach Joe Gillespie with a 63-13 rout of Hillsboro (1-8, 0-3) at Eagle Field Friday.
The Yellow Jackets dominated from the onset, scoring 42 points before Hillsboro picked up its initial first down. Tyler Jones passed for four touchdowns and rushed for another to lead the way.
"Never take a district championship for granted," said Stephenville head coach Joe Gillespie. "We've won three in five years now, and I know last year's was a co-championship, but we wanted this one outright and we got it. If you think about it, we've won more bi-district championships than we have district championships the last four years. Winning district championships aren't easy."
Stephenville learned it will face Burnet in the opening round of the 3A Division I playoffs. Burnet, the largest school in District 8-3A, secured its spot Friday night. The Yellow Jackets are idle next week - the final week of the regular season.
Stephenville scored its most points of the year, visiting the end zone early and often. The Yellow Jackets scored on nine of their first 10 possessions with the only other being used to run out the clock at the end of the first half.
Jones was 9-16 for 154 yards, hitting six different receivers including Alex Sanchez twice for 43 yards and two scores and Brice Gunter three times for 54 yards. Jones also passed for scores to Brock Morrison and B.J. Walker.
"It's an honor," Jones said of winning the district title. "But it's like coach keeps telling us - we want an outright district championship, but the ultimate goal is still to win state."
Jones topped 2,000 passing yards for the season on his first completion - a 40 yard TD to Sanchez. He has passed for more than 5,000 yards and 50 touchdowns - including 22 this fall - in his career.
"So far, so good," Jones said of the way the offense is executing going into the playoffs. "We still have things to work on, and I think the off week will be good for us. Everyone is excited to get to the playoffs; that's the true season for us and we're looking forward to it."
Sophomore Jarrett Stidham took over at quarterback in the middle of the third quarter and rushed for two touchdowns while completing his only pass.
Stephenville senior Dylan White rushed 16 times for a game-high 120 yards. Classmate Witt Westbrook scored twice and tallied 118 yards on just 13 carries.
Hillsboro did not score until after it was 56-0 in the third. Deontre Richardson, a dangerous sophomore, busted loose for a 74 yard touchdown run, and the Eagles scored again on a 61-yard catch and run by Korey Campbell on a short pass by Garrett Lane.
Hillsboro finished with just 173 total yards, 135 of it coming on the two scoring plays. The Eagles had negative 12 yards at halftime and finished with just seven first downs to Stephenville's 29.
Chase Varnado had four tackles behind the line of scrimmage - two of them sacks - on Hillsboro's first six snaps. The Jackets also had two first-quarter takeaways - an interception by Gunter and a fumble recovery by Tyler Isham - that were each turned into quick points.
Stephenville concluded its regular season with eight straight wins. The Yellow Jackets' longest win streak under Gillespie was nine games in 2009 - the final eight of the regular season followed by a bi-district playoff victory. Gillespie has a regular-season record of 36-13 and is 46-17 overall.
"I couldn't be more proud of the kids," Gillespie said. "With our schedule, to get an eight-game win streak is impressive, and it's just what we needed going into the playoffs."
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