ODESSA — Stephenville made quick work of El Paso Parkland in the Class 4A Division II Region I semifinals at Ratliff Stadium Saturday, scoring on all five of its first half possessions and limiting the Matadors to only 46 yards of total offense before the break.
The Jackets, 10-3, took a 44-0 lead into halftime before calling the dogs off in a 51-13 victory that improved Stephenville to 10-0 in round three playoff games during their current run of 19 playoff trips in 20 years. With Parkland’s loss, El Paso ISD schools are now 0-12 all time in round three.
After just 11 snaps, the Stephenville offense had 155 total yards and the Yellow Jackets were up 14-0. Everything else was merely a formality for SHS, who advances to meet District 8-4A rival Everman in the regional championship at 1 p.m. next Saturday at Waco ISD Stadium.
“I thought our guys did a great job of not being satisfied after finally getting past Rider, and not looking ahead to Everman,” said Stephenville head coach Joseph Gillespie. “We came out and executed very well in the first half and took care of business.”
Brad Picha was 13-17 for 245 yards and three touchdowns before halftime, with six of the completions going to tight end-wide receiver Josh Graves for 118 yards, including a 26-yard score. Picha also threw scoring strikes of 20 yards to Daniel Noland and 31 yards to Dakota Mathis.
The Jacket defense was just as impressive, surrendering only one first down before halftime and scoring on a Parkland turnover when Nate Brady forced a fumble and Chris Malone returned it 25 yards to pay dirt. Josh Emmons had two sacks and four total tackles for losses, all in the first half.
The special teams even chipped in with a 49-yard punt return for a touchdown by Mathis and German Chavarria’s 37-yard field goal. The junior kicker did miss his first kick of the season on an extra point attempt, but was still 6-7 and scored nine points on the afternoon.
Sophomore running back James Myles scored Stephenville’s only second half touchdown on a one-yard plunge, while Parkland found the end zone on a six-yard scamper by Justin Sedillo and a one-yard dive by Assad Taylor.
Stephenville, winners of six straight since falling to Everman in District 8-4A play, finished with 376 yards of offense, 287 of which came in the dominant first half. Parkland finished with 204 total yards, 158 of which came in the second half against a Jacket defense laden with underclassmen.
Gillespie says he and his team relish the rematch with Everman.
“It may sound crazy to say you can’t wait to see a team that beat you 56-3, but we can’t,” he said during the postgame celebration Saturday. “We’ve really come a long way since then and are looking like a contender at the right time. We’re going to be ready to go to Waco next week and see who the better team really is, and if it’s them, we’ll tip our hats to them. It’s time for December football, and every team still playing is a legitimate contender for the state championship.”