Stephenville quarterback Brad Picha passed for four touchdowns and added two more with his feet to lead playoff-bound Stephenville to a 43-19 win against Crowley at Memorial Stadium Friday.
Stephenville completes the regular season with a record of 7-3, including a 6-1 mark in District 8-4A. The Yellow Jackets finished second in the league behind undefeated Everman, which joins SHS in the Class 4A Division II playoffs. Third-place Mansfield Timberview and fourth-place Arlington Seguin will represent 8-4A in the Division I bracket.
The Jackets will meet District 7-4A champ Fort Worth Dunbar (9-1) in Region I bi-disrict playoff action at 7:30 p.m. Friday in Burleson. The winner meets either Wichita Falls Rider or Springtown, who clash on Thursday in Mineral Wells.
Crowley, which still had playoff hopes entering the contest, ends its season at 3-7 overall and 3-4 in league action.
Picha, who was 13-23 passing for 250 yards and one interception, tossed scoring strikes of 42, 38, 9 and 7 yards, while rushing for a pair of one-yard touchdowns. He gained 35 yards on 8 carries and was never sacked while leading the Yellow Jackets to a season-best 542 yards of offense.
Brad Mills didnít find the end zone for only the third time this season, but the Jackets didnít need him to. The senior running back still handled the lionís share of the rushing attack with 174 yards on 25 carries, giving him 1,244 yards on the ground for the year.
Josh Graves paced the SHS receivers from his slot at tight end, snagging four receptions for 77 yards and two touchdowns. The other touchdown passes went to James Myles and Daniel Noland, who each scored on their only catches of the night. Dakota Mathis grabbed three passes for 70 yards, while Chris Malone made three catches for 40.
Myles did more than just catch a nine-yard touchdown strike. The sophomore move-in from Mansfield also rushed for 63 yards on nine attempts in only his fourth game with the Jackets.
The Stephenville defense was on point in the first half, shutting the Eagles out and forcing four turnovers before the break.
Crowley did not record a single first down in the opening period, when fumbles ended back-to-back possessions and help setup Stephenville touchdowns. Both balls were dropped by Andre Dean. Linebacker Hayden Whiteley forced the first fumble and recovered the second, which was knocked loose by Nate Brady.
Stephenville led 30-0 at the break and made it 37-0 early in the third before Crowley finally broke the shutout with the first of three big second half scoring runs.
Chris Allen, who rushed for 135 yards on 13 attempts, broke loose on a 94-yard touchdown sprint, and Dean followed it with scoring runs of first 59 and later 68 yards. All three long touchdowns went around the left side of the Jacket defense.
The Eagles gained 221 yards on the three scoring plays and only 74 on their remaining 36 rushing attempts, finishing with 295 yards on 39 carries. Crowley would have rushed for well over 300 yards, except Dean was sacked six times - twice by Javier Perez - and tackled for loss a total of nine times. CHS also lost 18 yards on a high shotgun snap.
Dean attempted 10 passes, completing only three for 29 yards to give Crowley 324 yards of total offense.
The Eagles turned the ball over five times, three of them because of failed fourth-down attempts.
As the night went on, Crowley learned that not even an upset of Stephenville would have landed the Eagles in the playoffs. They needed both Arlington Seguin and Mansfield Legacy to lose, but Seguin trumped Joshua take the final spot.