DALLAS - Stephenville (2-1) scored 28 straight points to overcome an early deficit, then held on to defeat Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) Dillard (0-2) 46-32 in the opening game of the Lone Star Classic at Kincaide Stadium Saturday.
Jarrett Stidham passed for 192 yards and three touchdowns and rushed for another score for Stephenville, while Mookie Carlile picked off two passes defensively and hauled in seven receptions for 64 yards and a touchdown.
Classic officials named Stidham and Carlile Stephenville's offensive and defensive MVPs following the game.
Freshman Kaegun Williams had his first 100-yard performance for Stephenville. He gained 109 yards on 18 carries and added another 70 on three receptions. He scored through the air and on the ground.
Stephenville trailed 26-8 after 95-yard fumble return for a touchdown by Dillard's Ramsey Randy, but it was all Stephenville over the final two and a half quarters.
The Jackets ran the ball nine straight plays for a 60-yard touchdown drive on the ensuing possession. Kaegun Williams had runs of 23 and 17 yards on the drive, and Will Brock converted the only third down with a five-yard run. Brock had 92 yards rushing on the day.
Tyler Isham intercepted a pass and returned it 19 yards to the Dillard 28 to set up another Stephenville score. Stidham hit Carlile for 11 yards then hooked up with Grayson Sweet - in Sweet's first game back from a broken hand - for a 17-yard TD strike to cut the deficit to 26-21 at halftime.
Stephenville wasted no time grabbing the lead right out of the gate in the second half. A big kick return by Malik Taylor to the 50 got it started, and Stidham and Williams capped it just three plays later on a 38-yard screen pass and run.
After a quick Dillard punt, Stephenville had a longer-lasting drive to cap the 28-0 run. This one went 52 yards in nine plays and ended on a 3-yard scoring keeper by Stidham to make it 36-26. He hit Williams with a 24-yard pass earlier on the drive, and converted a third down with a nine-yard strike to Taylor.
Stephenville got a big defensive stop when Jon Clark Giddings tackled a receiver at the one on fourth-and-goal, but Dillard forced a quick punt then got back into the game with an 8-play, 46-yard drive. Dillard's Jason Collins plunged in from a yard out to cut it to 36-32, but the Panthers missed an extra point for the second time.
Stephenville answered strongly again, marching 69 yards in nine plays to score on a 20-yard run by Williams. Carlile's second interception followed, and it set up a 45-yard field goal by Luis Garcia to finish the scoring.
Carlile intercepted another pass and Josh Gillespie recovered the ball when Dillard muffed a punt to seal the deal.
Stephenville had 214 yards on the ground and Stidham was 16-29 passing for 192 yards, giving the Jackets 406 total yards. The Jackets surrendered just 15 rushing yards and 234 total yards.
The Jackets improved to 2-0 in the event, having defeated Beaumont Ozen 31-6 last year. Stephenville returns home next Friday to face Waco LaVega in its fifth annual Heart of Gold Game.