SOUTHLAKE —Stephenville used last-second heroics to defeat powerful Southlake Carroll in 7-on-7 action Saturday, upping its overall record to 10-0 and leaving no doubt the Jackets will be a force to be reckoned with in the fall.
After easily defeating Wichita Falls, 41-12, and Sherman, 33-19, earlier in the day, the Jackets refused to die after Southlake Carroll had tied it up, 14-14, with three minutes remaining in the game.
Quarterback Kody Spano led Stephenville on a drive that included a 30-yard pass connection with Trey Taylor and ended with a five-yard touchdown completion to Taylor on the game’s last play.
The Jackets walked away unbeaten on the day, undefeated on the year and with a 20-14 victory over the perennially nationally ranked Dragons.
Because Stephenville had already previously qualified for the state 7-on-7 tournament, the Jackets captured their “pool” and didn’t have to play in semi-finals and finals of the tournament.
“I couldn’t have been more proud of the way the kids came back,” said Sam Taylor, coach of the varsity 7-on-7 Yellow Jackets.
The Jackets held a 14-6 lead before talented Southlake Carroll quarterback Riley Dodge led the Dragons to tie it up on a touchdown and a conversion.
“There were some tense calls during the game,” Taylor said. “It was an emotional game. We had a lot of involvement from the fans and the kids.”
Stephenville defeated Wichita Falls, 41-12, after jumping ahead 28-0 at halftime. Against Sherman, the game was only 19-13 at the half before the Jackets coasted to a 33-19 win.
Against Wichita Falls, “We jumped right out and dominated them on offense and defense,” Taylor said, adding that Spano - who has verbally committed to play at Oklahoma State - had a “great day throwing” and the defense had an “excellent group effort.”
Among those leading the defense, he said, were Cody Wood, Cody Davis, Trey Taylor, Chris Featherston, Alex Bracy, Tom Ed Ramsey and Colt Barkley. The Jackets were also successful minus two starters - Travis Haschke and Colton Diffie, Taylor said.
On offense, the Jackets did it without top running back Brad Mills.
“Even a little shorthanded, we had a great day,” Taylor said.
Now, the undefeated Jackets play in league play in Saginaw on Tuesday and then travel next Saturday to play in Brownwood.
Last week, the Jackets also defeated Glen Rose, 55-0, and Granbury, 48-6.
DOUG MYERS is Managing Editor of the Empire-Tribune. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 965-3124, ext. 229.