Stephenville defense shines in 32-29 win over Snyder

CALEB MCCAIG cmccaig@empiretribune.com

Stephenville won their second district game in a row Friday night after erasing a 14-point deficit in the first half against Snyder. 

After Stephenville’s first two possessions ended in a punt and an interception, Snyder started the scoring with a 25-yard run and held a 7-0 lead at the end of the first quarter. 

Stephenville running back Krece Nowak tied the game early in the second quarter as he scored from 11-yards out. However, the tie didn’t last long as Snyder managed to house the ensuing kick off 75-yards for an immediate response. 

Several minutes later, the Tigers took their largest lead of the game, hitting a three-yard play action pass for a score to put Stephenville into a 21-7 hole. 

Trailing by 14-points with 7:45 remaining in the second quarter, the Yellow Jackets only needed 38 seconds to go 59 yards as Easton Jones found a wide open Cameron Frazier for a 37-yard touchdown. 

With 36 seconds remaining in the half, Jones once again added a touchdown to the stat sheet as he scrambled in from nine-yards out to deadlock the game at 21. 

In the second half Snyder only managed to score on one of their five drives, which included two turnover on downs and two more punts. 

After the Tigers took a 29-21 lead early in the third quarter, Stephenville responded with a Jake Gillispie field goal from 35-yards out which later set up the drive that captured their first and only lead of the game. 

Early in the fourth quarter Snyder was forced to punt from deep in their own territory. The kick was shanked and only traveled 16-yards allowing Stephenville to begin the drive from the Tigers’ 21-yard line. 

Six plays later, the Yellow Jackets forced the only lead change of the contest as Cameron Frazier rumbled into the end zone for a one-yard score. 

“It feels great to win two in a row. We came out and did what we needed to do,” said Stephenville head coach Greg Winder. “It wasn’t pretty, we struggled on offense at times and they stopped our running game. Our kids did a lot better towards the end and the defense, I just like the way they’re playing. They had some great stops tonight.”

Defensively, the Yellow Jackets allowed 352 total yards to Snyder, 104 through the air and another 248 on the ground. 

An important statistic and likely one key factor was the fact that Snyder attempted to go for it on fourth down four times Friday night and were held all four times to a turnover on downs. 

Statistically, no one player for the Yellow Jackets truly stood out Friday on offense. 

Quarterback Easton Jones finished 21-35 for 252 yards and one score and added another 29 yards and a touchdown on the ground. 

Krece Nowak led the team in carries with 16, but finished with only 36 yards on the ground, while hauling in five receptions for 67 yards. 

Leading the team in receptions was Blake Aragon who finished with six for 63 yards. 

“Getting a victory like this, coming from behind and not playing really well offensively, it means something,” said Winder. “It says something about our young men and the way they fight.”

With the win, Stephenville improves to 3-6 on the season and 2-1 in district play. They’ll travel to take on Abilene Wylie next week in their regular season finale.