Big Country Rewind Week 7: Stephenville makes statement with rout of La Vega
Stephenville’s perfect season continued Friday as the Yellow Jackets took down Waco La Vega 35-7 on the road.
It broke a three-year streak of La Vega beating Stephenville.
“I was proud of us going over there and matching their physicality,” head coach Sterling Doty said. “I think La Vega has been the standard in our district and our region — they’ve got a great program.”
Not only did the Yellow Jackets beat their nemesis, they dominated them.
Quarterback Ryder Lambert led the offense, throwing three touchdown passes and running for two touchdowns.
Coy Eakin had another big game at receiver, catching four passes for 113 yards and a touchdown. Kyle Ward also contributed heavily to the passing game, logging three receptions for 59 yards and two touchdowns.
“We took advantage of what they were giving us,” Doty said. “The offensive line played well, receivers made plays and we were able to run the ball.”
Stephenville also was stout on defense. On 44 rushes, La Vega totaled 94 yards. Linebacker Reese Young posted 25 tackles, 15 of which were solo.
“Defensively, it was a phenomenal effort,” Doty said.
The Yellow Jackets, now 6-0, haven’t played a close game yet. Their resume includes impressive blowout wins over Sweetwater, Wylie and now La Vega.
Stephenville came into that game ranked No. 2 in the 4A Division I rankings, while La Vega came in ranked No. 6. After No. 1 LBJ Austin survived a close call against Canyon Lake, there’s a chance the Yellowjackets will snatch that top spot in this week’s rankings.
If all goes accordingly, Stephenville’s next two games against Alvarado and Life Waxahachie should be preparation for the Yellow Jackets’ Oct. 29 battle against 5-1 Midlothian Heritage, which will likely decide who wins District 5-4A.
Heritage topped the Lions on Friday in Brownwood.
Doty sees the signature win over La Vega fueling his team as district play progresses.
“It’s momentum,” Doty said. “It’s telling us that we’re getting better every week. We’ll lay the previous game to bed, enjoy our Sundays and get to work on Monday for our next game.”
Dublin staves off Comanche
The Lions needed all four quarters, but Dublin continued its impressive season Friday, beating Comanche 26-21 on the road to improve to 5-1.
The Lions trailed 21-20 in the fourth quarter until they scored a rushing touchdown to take their first lead with six minutes left. On the ensuing Comanche drive, Dublin forced a turnover on downs to seal its fifth win of the season.
Though five points wasn’t the margin Dublin hoped for against a winless Comanche team, it’s still a win, and it moves the Lions to 1-0 in district. The win was the Lions’ fourth in a row, as their winning streak also includes wins over Anson, Brady and San Saba.
With District 5-3A II being down this year, Dublin is in a good position to win district, especially if the Lions beat Jacksboro on Oct. 15.
Lions roll over Meridian
Albany also made quite the statement to open district play.
The Lions won 83-7 over Meridian to improve to 5-0 overall. At halftime, Albany led 48-7 and kept on scoring.
On offense, Cole Chapman went 8-of-10 for 191 yards and two touchdowns, while Coy Lefevre ran for 94 yards and two touchdowns. The Lions posted 645 offensive yards in the blowout.
Defensively, Albany was just as dominant. The Lions allowed just 27 yards on 45 Meridian offensive plays (0.6 yards per play). Albany didn’t complete a pass on five attempts.
Granted, Meridian isn’t exactly a top-tier opponent. The Yellowjackets are 1-6 in 2020, losing several games by double digits.
But any 76-point win is notable, and it further proves that Albany is one of the best 2A teams in Texas.
Still on the schedule for the Lions are games against Hico, Santo and Cross Plains.
Ballinger’s winning streak ends
After winning three games in a row, the Bearcats ran out of magic against Brady on Friday, falling 55-41.
Both teams came out firing, as the score was 14-12 after the first quarter. But the Bulldogs controlled the game’s middle stages, outscoring Ballinger 28-14 in the second and third quarters.
The Bearcats scored twice in the fourth quarter, but it wasn’t enough. They dropped to 4-2 with the loss.
Though his team didn’t win, Ballinger quarterback Briley Clinton was excellent. He completed 20 of 29 pass attempts for 297 yards and three touchdowns. Clinton also used his legs for a touchdown.
What the Bearcats struggled with most was stopping the run.
Brady posted 378 rushing yards as a team, averaging more than 10 per carry. Bulldogs running back JD Ibarra went for 217 yards and five touchdowns on 18 touches.
Now 4-2 overall, Ballinger will go south to San Angelo for a game against Grape Creek on Oct. 15.
Big Spring steamrolled against Pampa
Big Spring’s strong start met swift opposition on Friday. The Steers fell 58-7 to Pampa in their final non-district contest.
Pampa’s defense stood tall, forcing several turnovers — three interceptions and a handful of turnovers on downs.
And on defense, the Steers were unable to contain Pampa running back Cornelius Landers, who ran for three touchdowns and 174 yards in 18 rushes.
Before the loss, Big Spring had been strong to start the season, defeating Clint and Littlefield in back-to-back weeks. As the Pampa game was non-district, the result isn’t the end of the world for the Steers.
But before facing Andrews on Oct. 22 for the district opener, they will have to make adjustments on both sides of the ball.
Carson Field is the area sports reporter for the Abilene Reporter-News. He covers primarily Big Country high school sports. If you appreciate locally driven news, you can support local journalists with a digital subscription to reporternews.com.