#8 Jackets come up short against #2 Midlothian Heritage 26-21

BY RUSSELL HUFFMAN
TheFlashToday.com

The thrill of victory was just 3:10 away when Stephenville’s Daniel Luna returned a fumble 78 yards for the go-ahead score, but the thrill was short lived as #2 Midlothian Heritage scored two plays later on a 66-yard Hail Mary pass and snatched a 26-21 win over the #8 Jackets.

The loss drops the Jackets to 2-2 on the season with both setbacks coming against the state’s top two teams. Worse yet for Stephenville is the loss of starting quarterback Cole Stanley who injured his right foot and may be lost for a good deal of time.

“It’s not good,” coach Greg Winder said in a post-game interview when questioned about his senior quarterback. Winder did not elaborate on Stanley’s injury that happened when he was tackled from behind as he was scrambling for extra yards.

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The Jackets were forced to play catchup football early on when a mishandled punt return was fumbled, and Heritage recovered and then scored on the next play to take a 7-0 advantage.

The Jackets would then lose Stanley on their next possession, and Winder called upon the services of Cade Renfro who wasn’t ready for his first snap and fumbled the football. Heritage recovered, and a couple of plays late was leading by a 14-0 margin

“It was a crazy football game that’s what Texas high school football is about,” coach Greg Winder said.

The Jackets responded with a nine-play 70-yard drive that was capped by Renfro finding wideout Gavin Rountree for Stephenville’s first score of the evening. The first of Chase Carillio’s three extra-point kicks split the uprights for a 14-7 score.

TheFlashToday.com photography by Dr. Chet Martin and Russell Huffman

Stephenville’s defense stopped a fourth down play on Heritage’s next possession, and the offense quickly went to work again with Renfro finding Kreece Nowak who split the seam of the defense and streaked for the end zone from more than 50 yards out to knot the game at 14-14 before the half.

In the third quarter, Heritage put together a 12-play drive that covered 66 yards with a 25-yard scoring pass pushing the Jaguars up top 20-16 following a missed PAT.

The weather began to play havoc with both teams offense as the rain began to pour down in the final quarter but that didn’t stop the fireworks from happening when Luna returned his fumble recovery. He broke two tackles after picking up the ball then fumbled at about the 30-yard line and recovered the ball himself. Luna then broke two more tackles before getting the touchdown.

The Jaguars’ Langston Anderson then did the final damage when the D1 commitment snagged a 66-yard pass from Landon Ledbetter.

Neither team got their ground games going as Nowak rushed for 50 yards on 14 carries, but quarterback sacks dropped the team rushing total to 25 yards. The Jackets defense was just as stingy allowing only 15 yards rushing and zero yards after the half.

Through the air was a different story as Ledbetter stung the Jackets for three touchdown and 361 yards on 21-34-1 passing. His one interception being grabbed by Gage Graham just before halftime.

Nowak led the Jackets’ receiving corps with six catches for 101 yards and a touchdown. Kyle Lindsey had five grabs for 64 yards, and Rountree had three receptions for 47 yards and a score.

TheFlashToday.com photography by Dr. Chet Martin and Russell Huffman

 

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