GRANBURY - Stephenville pushed its win streak to six and secured a sixth straight trip to the state football playoffs by dominating Granbury 31-3 in a District 8-4A game at Pirate Stadium Friday night.
The Yellow Jackets (6-2, 5-0) are post season bound for the 20th time in 21 years and remain alone atop the 8-4A standings.
“It’s always a good feeling when you know for sure you’ve made the playoffs,” Stephenville head coach Joseph Gillespie said. “Now we want to keep rolling and see if we can’t bring home the district title.”
Granbury (0-8, 0-5) saw its school-record losing streak increase to 24 games.
Stephenville running back James Myles rushed for 160 yards, topping the 1,000-yard mark for the season. Myles now has 1,013 yards on 166 carries.
“It feels great to get to pass that mark, but that’s really a credit to the offensive line. No offensive line, no 1,000 yards for James Myles,” said Myles. “All we really care about is winning.”
“That’s a great accomplishment for him, but I don’t really care if it’s 1,000 or 5,000, and I don’t think James does either. The only thing that matters at the end of the day is the ‘W,’” Gillespie said. “We have a very unselfish football team that works well together, and James is a prime example of that.”
Myles scored his 12th rushing touchdown of the season when he finished an 11-play, 77-yard scoring drive with a three-yard burst to make it 14-3 midway through the second. He carried the ball nine times on the drive for 37 yards.
Stephenville kicker German Chavarria made it 17-3 when he drilled a 26-yard field goal with three seconds remaining in the first half, then the Jackets turned to their defense to put the game away.
Sophomore Tyler Floyd intercepted a Granbury pass and returned it 17 yards to the house to open up a three-touchdown lead for Stephenville early in the third.
“We were kind of letting them hang around until then,” Floyd said. “I knew we needed a big play and once I had the ball I knew I had to score.”
Floyd, who also recovered a Pirate fumble in the fourth, is the fourth Stephenville sophomore to score on defense this year.
“I guess it was just my turn,” he said.
The pick-six was the Jackets’ fourth defensive touchdown of the season. They have scored either a safety or a touchdown on defense or special teams in each of their last six games.
“I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, if you score on defense or special teams it’s always a big lift,” Gillespie said. “Granbury is a lot better than they were last year and we came out a little flat. (The interception return) was when we finally took control of the game.”
Charlie Riola finished the scoring with a five-yard TD catch from Connor Washington later in the third. Riola hauled in a team-leading six catches for 90 yards as Washington was 16-26 through the air for 214 yards and a pair of TDs.
“We didn’t play very well at first and they kept it close for a while, but we made up for it later,” said Riola, who scored a TD for the third straight game. The senior receiver said he and Washington have a good connection on the field.
“We do it in practice every day. It’s good when we’re able to carry that over into the games,” Riola said.
Washington began the scoring with a 51-yard TD to Cole Stokes on just the second play from scrimmage for Stephenville.
Granbury answered the challenge with a 32-yard field goal by Maximillian Heap to make it 7-3 early in the second, but that was as close as the Pirates would get.
Stephenville limited Granbury to only four first downs and 151 yards of total offense. The Pirates rushed for 128 yards, led by Brandon Davis with 93, but completed only one pass.
The Jackets rolled up 407 yards of offense with their balanced attack. It marked just the second time this season they have topped the 400-yard plateau. Stephenville gained 444 yards against Joshua.
The lopsided score would have been much worse had Stephenville not turned the ball over three times including twice inside the Granbury 40.
All three giveaways came on interceptions thrown by Washington. One came when the sophomore lost his footing on the soggy natural grass just as he released the ball. Another was tipped at the line of scrimmage.