The playoff-bound Stephenville Yellow Jackets closed out their regular season and District 5-4A Division I football slate last Friday night at Memorial Stadium with a solid 31-3 victory over Gatesville.
Coach Greg Winder's squad improved to 6-3 overall and finished their four-team district schedule at 3-1. Gatesville fell to 1-2 in district and 3-6 overall with one more regular-season game left on its schedule.
Stephenville's bi-district playoff opponent is yet to be decided, but will be either 4-4 Fort Worth Dunbar or 5-4 Lake Worth. Those two teams are tied for third place in the seven-team District 6-4A Division I standings behind Kennedale and Benbrook, with one district game remaining.
While Stephenville’s offense was scoring at least seven points in each quarter against the Hornets Friday, the final score marked the lowest point total allowed by the SHS defense so far this season.
“That defense came out and (bent) a little bit but they didn’t break,” Winder said. “The first half offensively we were struggling a little bit, so we went back to running the football.”
SHS defensive coordinator Cody Moore said, “We were getting them in long yardage on early downs and making them throw and that was playing into our hand.”
After the Hornets claimed a 3-0 lead early, the Jackets responded with five unanswered scores.
“In the second half I thought we got rolling pretty good,” Winder said. “The kids responded well. I’m proud of them.”
The Jackets got two touchdowns from running back Krece Nowak, and quarterback Kade Renfro threw a 25-yard TD pass to Kyle Lindsey. Also for SHS, running back Kason Phillips ran for a TD, and Chase Carrillo added a 35-yard field goal.
“We started slow tonight. We kind of thought we had it in the bag,” Lindsey said, noting that Gatesville entered the game facing a must-win situation. “That team hit us with everything they had. We knew they were going to come out hot. I’m kind of glad because it woke us up.”
The Jackets’ open date on their district schedule comes this week, followed by the start of the playoffs the following week.
Gatesville’s 32-yard field goal came at the 6:50 mark in the opening quarter.
But the Jackets closed out the quarter with some fireworks when Nowak sprinted 80 yards for his first TD of the game for a 7-3 lead.
Phillips carried on a 4-yard TD run to give the Jackets a 14-3 edge at the 7:18 mark in the second quarter.
The Jackets went up 21-3 with 10:59 remaining in the third quarter on a 16-yard TD run by Nowak.
Shortly after what would have been a 6-yard TD pass from Renfro to Nowak was called back because of a holding penalty against the Jackets, Carrillo kicked his 35-yard field goal. That gave SHS a 24-3 advantage.
With 11:17 remaining in the fourth quarter, Lindsey hauled in his TD pass from Renfro. Carrillo’s extra point kick produced the final 28-point margin.
Renfro was efficient, completing 15 of 17 pass attempts for 163 yards with one interception.
Nowak was the team’s leading rusher with 126 yards on 11 carries.
Gavin Rountree topped the SHS receiving corps with 53 yards on four catches. Lindsay was next with 45 yards on four receptions.