The Stephenville Yellow Jackets suffered their second District 5-4A Division I football loss Friday night, 38-22 to sixth-ranked Brownwood in the 80th meeting between the two rival squads.
Stephenville slipped to 4-4 overall and 1-2 in district with the loss on Senior Night at Tarleton State University’s Memorial Stadium, which was the next-to-last regular-season contest for the Jackets. They will travel to winless Gatesville (0-8, 0-2) this Friday (7 p.m. kickoff). The top four teams in the final district standings qualify for the playoffs. Stephenville’s district win was over China Spring, which is also 1-2, tied for third behind Waco La Vega and Brownwood.
“They created turnovers and did a great job of attacking our plan,” SHS head coach Sterling Doty said of the Lions’ win. “We moved the ball on them. We shot ourselves in the foot a couple of times.
“Two physical football teams getting after it and they did a better job of executing. This one’s on me. I’ve got to get our kids better prepared to execute better.”
SHS quarterback Kade Renfro scored two touchdowns and running back Caden Cowan added another, while Trace Morrison accounted for the other points with a field goal.
After relinquishing a first-quarter 7-0 lead the Jackets pulled within five points (21-16) but could not maintain their momentum.
“We had a lot of momentum,” Doty said. “I believe that when we had a fourth-down stop there, we were just right on the cusp of taking full control of it, getting back in it, evening that thing out. We had our two-point play lined out, and we just couldn’t get to that point.”
Stephenville led the Lions most of the opening quarter after Renfro capped a Yellow Jacket drive with a one-yard touchdown run. Morrison’s extra point kick gave the Jackets a 7-0 lead that stood up until the 1:19 mark in the quarter when the Lions notched their second TD run, this time striking from 41 yards out for a 14-7 lead.
Brownwood had scored at the 3:40 mark in the quarter, but missed the extra point kick as the Jackets held on for a 7-6 lead.
The Lions extended their lead to 21-7 on a 3-yard TD run with 4:36 remaining in the second quarter.
Morrison kicked a 34-yard field goal that reduced the deficit to 21-10 with 1:43 to go in the quarter, which was also the halftime score.
A fumble recovery by the Jackets deep in Brownwood territory led to the Jackets’ second TD as Renfro kept the ball on a 2-yard run. Morrison’s extra point sliced the margin to 21-16 with 8:36 left in the quarter.
The Lions pulled away to a 31-16 edge with a 30-yard field goal at the 5:31 mark in the quarter, and an 85-yard TD pass with four minutes later.
“It was a big back-breaker. They big-played us,” Doty said of the Lions’ 85-yard scoring play.
A 14-yard scoring pass with 7:57 left in the fourth quarter was Brownwood’s final tally, giving the Lions a 38-16 advantage.
Cowan bulled through two would-be tacklers for his 24-yard TD run that reduced Stephenville’s final deficit to 28-22 with 2:17 left in the game.