MINERAL WELLS - The only thing Trey Taylor doesn’t do for No. 1 Stephenville is kick.
The senior four-year letterman used his arm to throw a touchdown pass, used his hands to catch a second, and his legs to run for a third.
“We would have had him kicking field goals, but we couldn’t find anyone to snap it to him,” Stephenville Head Coach Chad Morris said.
Oh yeah, Taylor is the deep snapper, too, and plays corner back on defense.
And let’s not forget quarterback.
In District 8-4A action Friday, Taylor and No. 1 Stephenville (8-0, 5-0) proved to be too much for pesky Mineral Wells (1-7, 0-5), 52-14.
The Rams held a 14-13 second quarter lead before the Jackets started rolling.
Brad Mills barrelled through the right side of the line, then cut back to the middle of the field and scampered to the end zone from 35 yards away to put the Jackets ahead for good with 7:11 remaining in the first half. The score was set up by a 41-yard kickoff return by Cody Davis.
Mills finished with 10 carries for 114 yards, and one reception on a short option pass from Taylor that he turned into a 26-yard scoring play for the Jackets’ first points.
After Mills gave the Jackets a 19-14 edge, the Stephenville defense recorded a quick three-and-out to set the stage for the offense to pull away.
Taylor picked up his rushing touchdown from two yards out with 3:24 left in the half for a 25-14 Stephenville lead.
“Trey did it all for us tonight. We asked him to throw the ball, to run the ball and even to catch the ball, and he did a great job,” Stephenville Head Coach Chad Morris said.
Taylor finished with 66 yards on 12 carries, and also caught three passes for 31 yards. He completed one of two pass attempts for 26 yards and a touchdown.
The short scoring run by Taylor capped a nine-play, 65-yard drive that would have ended sooner had it not been for an untimely illegal procedure penalty that erased a one-yard touchdown jaunt by Mills.
Penalties again hampered the Jackets, who were flagged eight times for 70 yards. Three personal fouls were called against Stephenville, with one resulting in the ejection of starting defensive lineman Wayne Viotto.
The Stephenville defense shut the Rams out in the second half, picking off two passes and running one back for a touchdown along the way.
Hayden Whitely scored on a 23-yard run just 57-seconds into the third quarter.
Fifteen seconds later, Stephenville was striking up the band with another score when Cody Wood picked off a pass and ran it back 30 yards to pay dirt. After the extra point, the jackets were in complete control with a 38-14 lead.
An Alex Bracey interception ended Mineral Wells’ next possession. It was the second key play of the night for Bracey, who gave Stephenville a 13-7 lead in the second quarter when he recovered a fumble at the goal line after a bad snap on a punt attempt by the Rams.
The interception was quickly turned into points when Brad Picha threw the first touchdown pass of his varsity career. Taylor was on the receiving end of the 11-yard score.
Picha struck again for the Jackets’ final points, connecting with Josh Graves on a 17-yard fade in the end zone.
Picha suffered through some growing pains in the early going, tossing interceptions on his first two attempts.
“I got a little greedy with Brad on that first one,” Morris said concerning a deep ball intended for Chris Malone, who was covered by two Ram defenders sitting back in zone coverage.
The junior who was called up from the JV this week rebounded brilliantly in the second half, connecting on 10 of 11 passes for 143 yards and the two touchdowns.
Picha was forced into varsity action because Kody Spano injured his throwing shoulder during Stephenville’s previous win over Cleburne.
Following the game, Morris re-confirmed that he expects Spano to be back when the Jackets face Crowley Friday, despite the fact that the senior did not work out at all last week.
Aside from two early touchdown drives, Mineral Wells found the going to be tough against the Wardogs on the Stephenville defense.
The Rams finished with only 156 yards on 65 snaps. They rushed for 96 yards on 44 carries, and picked up 60 yards through the air. Mineral Wells completed only four of 21 pass attempts, while Stephenville defenders Wood, Bracey and Chris Featherston each recorded interceptions.
Stephenville finished with 398 yards offensively. The Jackets ran the ball 34 times 229 yards, and passed for 169 yards as Picha and Taylor combined for 11 completions.
Stephenville is all but guaranteed of a playoff spot with Crowley and Everman remaining on the 8-4A schedule. The Jackets will look to secure their fourth straight trip to the post season and 17th in the last 18 years when they host Crowley Friday.
Brad Keith is the sports editor at the Empire-Tribune. He can be reached at (254) 965-3124, ext. 241, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.