Brad Keith

Sports Editor

brad.keith@empiretribune.com

The Stephenville faithful got to see their Yellow Jackets play for the state football title this season.

They just got the games out of order.

The area championship played at Cowboys Stadium proved to be for the whole enchilada in 4A Division II.

The Bearcats never really got pushed after that 26-23 overtime classic on Nov. 20.

There was the mighty Hereford team that trailed Aledo 35-0 a couple minutes into the second half in round three, followed by an Everman squad that was down 34-0 at the same stage a week later.

Stephenville had defeated Everman 44-17 in the regular season in a game that followed a similar story line - the Jackets led 44-10 late in the third quarter.

Last week the Cats had to deal with a tough Denison group that was game for a brief spell.

But that was mostly due to the mistakes of a young quarterback who put Aledo in a 21-7 first quarter hole.

Once Jonathan Grey and company settled down, the “other” Yellow Jackets had no answers. Aledo scored 27 straight and won 40-28.

I had my suspicions when the masses gathered to view an area championship that Friday in Arlington that a state title fight might just break out, and I wasn’t disappointed in the least.

The game was held at the best sports venue on the planet, it was between two of the state’s best programs over the past two decades, with two of the best runners and best defenses around going head to head.

Four quarters wasn’t enough to decide it as both teams played state title-caliber football for 48 minutes and then some.

Aledo succeeded on two big fourth down attempts, first to run out the clock in regulation and then to survive before scoring the winning points in overtime.

Now, as you may have heard, football fans in Texas tend to get just a little bit attached to their teams, and many Stephenville fans had a tough time stomaching a third-straight loss to Aledo, this time with an area - and state - title on the line.

I heard some say they couldn’t wait to see Aledo lose; one even dared tell me he could see Hereford catching the Cats off guard in the next round.

But none of that happened. Even in the state final Brenham proved to be nothing more than another victim in the way of the victory train that could just as easily have been engineered by Stephenville as Aledo.

No doubt about it.

The 4A Division II championship may have been formally awarded the week before Christmas, but it was truly won the week before Thanksgiving.