Jackets fall to Heritage 42-27

William Spinks
Special to the E-T
Jackets and Bees

STEPHENVILLE — A year after losing a chance at a district championship because of an ineligible player, the Midlothian Heritage Jaguars are back on top in District 5-4A (I).

Latray Miller rushed for 178 yards and three touchdowns on Friday night, leading the Jaguars to a 42-27 title-clinching victory over Stephenville at Tarleton State University’s Memorial Stadium.

The Jags (8-2, 4-0) clinched the district championship officially for the fourth time in five seasons as a varsity program. HHS would’ve made it five straight after winning it on the field in 2019, but was forced to forfeit a victory against Crandall.

The Jags also moved up one spot to No. 8 in the Dave Campbell’s Texas Football Class 4A Division I poll with the win.

Stephenville fought back to trail 28-20 with just over five minutes remaining in the game, then held on third down and had seemingly forced a punt. But instead, Heritage converted a fake punt when Kaden Brown connected with Daelin Rader for a 33-yard pass to the Yellowjackets’ 18-yard line. Two plays later, Miller scored his third touchdown of the game from 12 yards out.

Rader completed 10 of 16 pass attempts for 107 yards and two touchdowns, both to Carter Wilkerson, who caught seven total passes for 84 yards. Rader added 61 rushing yards and a touchdown on 13 carries.

The game was a close battle for much of the first half. The Jags led 14-7 with four minutes to go before intermission, but quickly bumped it to 28-7 as Rader hit Wilkerson for a TD pass and Miller broke a 69-yarder for a score.

Stephenville (5-5, 3-2) was led by Kason Phillips, who rushed for 99 yards and two scores. Coy Eakin chipped in 106 receiving yards and a touchdown while Gavin Rountree passed for 213 yards and two touchdowns.

The Jags received a waiver from the University Interscholastic League allowing them to play an 11th regular-season game, but they may not have to.

The District 5-4A (I) executive committee has agreed that the Jags’ game against Brownwood will not be played if the game doesn’t affect the final district standings.

Brownwood was scheduled to play at No. 9 Waco La Vega on Monday night, and an expected La Vega win would render the scheduled Saturday game meaningless in regard to playoff seeding. So the Jags’ next outing may be their bi-district playoff game against the No. 4 seed out of District 6-4A (I) the weekend of Nov. 12-14.