DECATUR — Stephenville's unbeaten football squad notched its fourth consecutive victory, 41-20 Friday night at Eagle Stadium in Decatur.
Easton Jones continued his incredible return to quarterback from an offseason elbow injury by throwing five touchdown passes for the Yellow Jackets.
The TD passes included two each to Blake Aragon and Krece Nowak and one to Kyle Lindsey.
Those two scoring catches gave Nowak 11 TDs in four games, and his six catches for 134 yards put him at 334 yards in total offense on the night. Nowak averaged 10 yards per carry rushing, leading the team in that category once again, with 200 yards on 20 carries.
Aragon had a team-high seven catches in all for 106 yards. Clay Krause added four receptions for 36 yards.
Jones completed 16 of 30 passes for 303 yards and one interception. Since he rejoined the team in the Sept. 15 win over Everman, Jones has completed 26 of 45 passes. He had been sidelined with an offseason elbow injury he suffered in June.
On the defensive side, Cesar Macias and Blue Caylor recovered fumbles for the Jackets.
The Yellow Jackets' first score came early in the opening quarter on a defensive play when Jonathan Gutierrrez blocked a Decatur punt and then pounced on it in the end zone for a TD. That gave the Jackets a 6-0 lead with 6:35 to go in the first quarter after they had driven to Decatur’s 4-yard line and were stopped on fourth down.
Also on defense for SHS, Cody Storrs intercepted a Decatur pass early in the fourth quarter. That came about one minute after the Eagles had picked off a Jones pass that halted a Stephenville scoring threat when the Jackets had reached Decatur’s 6-yard line.
The triumph for the Jackets spoiled the homecoming game for the Eagles, who slipped to 2-2 with their second straight loss.
The Jackets’ offense helped out the defense by dominating the overall time of possession, and SHS head coach Greg Winder noted that they continued to be effective with a physical, aggressive style of play.
“That (Decatur) offense, they run and gun and throw it and catch it well,” Winder said. “Our defense shut them down, being physical again.”
The Jackets hurt themselves by racking up 160 yards in penalties.
“We’ve got to fix that,” Winder said. “Some were aggressive penalties and some we weren’t doing what we’re supposed to do. There’s no excuse for jumping offside and for illegal motion.”
Stephenville’s first-team defense did not allow a touchdown after Decatur’s second TD, which came with 9:28 remaining in the second quarter. After Decatur tied the score at 14 at that point, the Jackets pulled away with four touchdowns to gain a 27-point advantage.
“We fired up and executed when we needed to for the most part, and the offense was doing a great job of giving us some room,” SHS junior defensive back Gage Graham said.
In last year’s meeting, Decatur had outscored the Jackets, 49-42.
Stephenville's next game will be another road battle, Friday at Graham with a 7:30 p.m. kickoff. The Steers, averaging 53.5 points per game, are also 4-0 after taking a 63-17 win over Burkburnett Friday.
The Jackets won their meeting with Graham last year, 55-28. But despite that and the momentum his team seems to have going, Winder said the Jackets still have plenty of work to do.
“Graham is an outstanding program. They have a really good quarterback and a good defense,” Winder said of the upcoming showdown against Graham. “It’s going to be a big challenge for us. We will have to be ready to go.”
After Stephenville’s homecoming game on Oct. 6 against Lubbock Monterey, the Jackets will have an open date before the start of District 3-4A, Division I, on Oct. 20 on the road against rival Brownwood (7:30 p.m. kickoff).