Jackets calm 'Storm

BRAD KEITH brad.keith@empiretribune.com
1_MG_8318.jpg

SNYDER - The rain and wind couldn't stop 3A No. 3 Stephenville (4-1) Saturday, and neither could 4A No. 10 Amarillo (3-2).

Jarrett Stidham hauled in four touchdown passes from Tyler Jones and Jones also rushed for a score as Stephenville rolled to a 35-14 victory at Tiger Stadium.

It was Stephenville's third victory over a state-ranked opponent; it's second over a ranked 4A foe. The Yellow Jackets matched their best five-game start under fifth-year head coach Joe Gillespie.

The defense did more than its share, shutting out the Golden Sandstorm after allowing touchdowns on their opening two possessions. Amarillo had just 99 yards after halftime.

Jones completed his first eight pass attempts on his way to going 27-38 for 272 yards and four touchdowns, all to Stidham. They hooked up for a 27 yard TD with 50 seconds left in the first half to make it 21-14 and give Stephenville the lead for good.

Stidham scored on receptions of 18 and 12 yards to blow it open in the third quarter and Stephenville spent much of the fourth running out the clock. The final touchdown was setup by a fake punt when Jones took the snap as the up-back and hit a wide open Mookie Carlile for 28 yards.

Stidham finished with seven receptions for 101 yards while senior Brice Gunter caught seven passes for 81 yards.

Witt Westbrook had the best rushing performance of his senior season, gaining 133 yards on 22 carries. Jones rushed for 62 yards as Stephenville gained 202 on the ground and 474 in total offense.

Amarillo rushed for 209 yards; 141 in the first half. Josh Woods rushed 14 times for 111 yards to lead the way.

It looked as if a shootout would break out early with both teams scoring 14 points in the first quarter. Stidham got the party started with a 19-yard scoring catch, before Amarillo took a brief lead on a 36 yard run by Josh Woods and a 70-yard Gabriel Rodriguez-to-Ryan Sluder pass that caught the defense by surprise.

Jones answered himself with a 29-yard run on an option keeper with 58 seconds left in the first, touching off the Yellow Jackets' string of 28 unanswered points to leave Amarillo behind.

Since falling to Monterrey Prepa Tec (Mexico) to begin the season, Stephenville has outscored opponents 150-70. The Jackets are idle next Friday as the rest of District 7-3A begins league play. Stephenville hosts unbeaten Glen Rose on Oct. 12.

Amarillo, which fell to 4A this year after reaching the area round of the 5A Division II playoffs in 2011, was playing its third straight state-ranked opponent. The Sandies lost to Wichita Falls Rider and beat Wolfforth Frenship before facing Stephenville.

Follow Brad Keith on Twitter @etsports