James Myles scored six touchdowns and Stephenville (7-2, 6-0) secured at least a share of a district championship for the first time since 2006 with a 49-21 whipping of Arlington Seguin (3-6, 3-3) in a District 8-4A game at Tarleton Memorial Stadium Friday night.
The Yellow Jackets can wrap up their first outright district title since 2005 with a win at Crowley or an Everman loss to Granbury next week. Arlington Seguin can still reach the post season with a win against Joshua or a Mansfield Timberview loss to Granbury.
Stephenville topped the 500-yard mark in total offense for the first time of the season, led by Myles with 184 yards rushing and 48 receiving, and Connor Washington with 243 passing yards.
After Myles scored his first two touchdowns, Seguin threatened to get back in the game before the first two plays of the second quarter put Stephenville firmly in control.
Seguin, led by quarterback Dorsey Griffin, reached the Yellow Jacket 11 on the final play of the first quarter. But when the Cougars tried to score through the air to open the second period, Stephenville defensive back Reilly Avalos dove in front of the pass and picked it off at the one.
The Jackets used just one play to go all the way down the field as Washington faked a handoff to Myles and found Shylo Pankey open behind the secondary for a record-setting 99-yard TD strike.
“I didn’t even realize what I had done really until I got to the sideline and I was out of breath and somebody said I set a record,” Pankey said. “I couldn’t believe it.”
Pankey, who was seldom used early in the season but has come on in recent weeks, was Washington’s favorite target Friday. The senior led all receivers with 146 yards on five catches.
“I’ve just been practicing hard and the coaches have been teaching me the plays and finding ways for me to help the team,” Pankey said.
Gillespie says Pankey’s rise up the depth chart began in spring ball.
“Cole Stokes got injured in spring ball, and while we hate to see a kid get hurt, it gave us a chance to give other guys some reps they wouldn’t have got otherwise,” Gillespie says. “Shylo was one of those players who stepped up and he’s worked hard and found a way to be a big contributor to what we’re doing offensively.”
The 99-yard TD made it 21-0 and Seguin never got closer than 14.
It was 28-14 at halftime before the Yellow Jacket defense turned it on, surrendering only one big play - a 62-yard touchdown pass from Griffin to Martice McNeil - after the break.
Griffin passed for 243 yards while rushing for 117 and two TDs. He had a hand in 360 of Seguin’s 361 total yards. McNeil was his leading receiver with six catches for 117 yards.
“This was the first game in a long time that we had to ask our offense to keep us in the game until the defense got straightened out,” said Gillespie, whose team surrendered more than 300 yards for the first time since allowing more than 500 in a loss to Denton Guyer on Sept. 4. “We finally did get it figured out and they really just had one big play in the second half. But it was comforting to have the offense rolling the way it was when the defense was struggling.”
Myles put the game away by rushing for 145 yards and his final three scores after halftime. After he made it 42-21, Seguin fumbled the ensuing kickoff and Malcom Jimenez covered it up for Stephenville. Myles finished the scoring three plays and 14 yards later.
“It’s an honor,” Myles said of what is believed to be a school-record scoring performance. “It’s especially an honor because I got to do it for the blue and gold.”
Always humble, the junior running back was quick to credit the offensive line for much of his success.
“I love those guys, I really do,” Myles said. “They’re great.”
Stephenville now turns its attention to Crowley and a shot at the outright championship in 8-4A.
“Obviously there are a lot of things from this game that we have to correct, and our goal is just to get better each week,” said T.R. Varnado, a four-year letterman on the defensive line. “I think we will be extremely focused next week with a chance to win the district (outright) and keep building momentum going into the playoffs.”
Gillespie is not a fan of the term co-champs.
“I don’t want to share anything,” he said. “I want to go to Crowley and take care of business and bring the crown back to Stephenville where it belongs.”