Playoffs kick off for local contenders

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Photo by RUSSELL HUFFMAN

Stephenville vs. Decatur

4A Division I Region I bi-district

7:30 p.m. Friday

Ram Stadium in Mineral Wells

Stephenville (6-3) is 6-0 in bi-district playoff games under head coach Joe Gillespie, but for the first time in his seven years at the helm, the Yellow Jackets are the lower seed entering the opening round of the playoffs.

Stephenville and Decatur kick off at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Ram Stadium in Mineral Wells. The Yellow Jackets are the third place team from District 3-4A Division I, Decatur the runner up in 4-4A Division I.

Both teams are coming off losses, with Stephenville entering the post season on the back of back-to-back defeats. The Yellow Jackets lost 64-57 at Big Spring on Oct. 24, were idle on Oct. 31 and fell to Abilene Wylie, 21-7, on Nov. 7.

Decatur ventured to Graham last week and pushed the district champion Steers to overtime before falling, 54-48. Graham had to erase a 14-point Decatur lead to get to the overtime.

Stephenville continues to play without Under Armour All-American and Elite 11 quarterback Jarrett Stidham, a Texas Tech pledge, who broke a bone in his throwing hand on the opening possession at Big Spring. Stidham had successful surgery, and according to sources, was gripping a ball during practice this week.

With their All-American on the mend, the Jackets have turned to Anthony Chavarria, and he has been strong in relief. He was 24-38 for 411 yards and six touchdowns at Big Spring before going 19-30 for 249 yards against Wylie. After attempting just two passes all season before Stidham’s injury, Chavarria is 43-68 for 650 yards the last two games.

Kaegun Williams had 163 total offensive yards against Wylie. The sophomore standout completed the regular season with 948 yards rushing and another 819 receiving while accounting for 17 touchdowns.

Despite scoring just seven points last week, Stephenville averages 41.7 points per game. Not to be outdone, Decatur scores at a clip of 38.5 per game. Defensively, Stephenville allows 24.3 per game and Decatur surrenders 29.8.

The winner meets Lubbock Estacado or Clint Mountain View in next week’s area round.

Dublin (6-4) vs. Corsicana Mildred (3-6)

3A Division II Region I bi-district

7:30 p.m. Friday

Charles Head Stadium in Alvarado

Dublin is back in the playoffs for the first time in 10 years and is seeking its first post season win in 50 seasons.

The Lions will look to invoke the spirit of their 1964 team that won an opening round playoff game when they face Corsicana Mildred at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Charles Head Stadium in Alvarado.

Dublin is scoring 31 points per game and is coming off a big second-half performance that produced a 31-19 playoff-clinching win over Clifton. Brady Holleman passed and rushed for more than 100 yards each and scored both ways while Travis Blazi ran for two touchdowns and Abel Aguilar intercepted a pair of passes. The Lions overcame a 12-7 halftime deficit with 24 consecutive secnd-half points.

Mildred won only three games, but they were all district contests to earn third place in 9-3A division II. The Lions, who played seven playoff teams including four state-ranked clubs in the regular season, finished second in 10-3A Division II. Rio Vista is their only common opponent – Dublin beat Rio Vista 34-0 and Mildred knocked off RVHS 34-20.

Mildred was in the quarterfinals in 2011 and the semifinals in 2012, but have been rebuilding since that time. The Tigers are coming off a 36-20 loss to Palmer.

The winner meets up with state power Newton or New Waverly in the area round next week.

Other playoff games Friday:

Santo (9-1) vs. Electra (6-4)

7:30 p.m. at Jacksboro

Santo is a big favorite to win a playoff game for the first time since 1994 in its first post season appearance since 2011.

Gordon (9-1) vs. Newcastle (7-3)

7:30 p.m. at Bryson

Gordon won the season opener 44-24 and now the teams meet again.

Thursday night:

Stephenville FAITH 70, Corpus Christi Arlington Heights

Photo by BRAD KEITH
Photo by BRAD KEITH

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Shadd Cole passed for three touchdowns, rushed for a fourth, returned a punt for a fifth and returned a safe kick following a safety for a sixth. His six TDs helped FAITH turn its first-round playoff into a walk in the park, as the Knights led 34-0 after the opening six minutes. FAITH finds out late Friday who’s up next.

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