By BRAD KEITH
MINERAL WELLS (November 14, 2014) — Kaegun Williams scored four times through the air and three times on the ground, but in the end, it was a rare pass by the sophomore running back that kept Stephenville’s season alive.
After leaping for a game-tying 22-yard touchdown reception on fourth-down and seven in the fourth overtime of an epic 4A Division I bi-district contest, Williams took a pitch, and as the Decatur defense closed in, he lofted the two-point pass to Darian Brown to give Stephenville (7-3) a 66-64 win over Decatur (7-4) at Ram Stadium in Mineral Wells Friday night.
“We work on that play every week in practice, and this week I knew we were going to run it. I could just feel it,” said Williams of the halfback pass that lifted Stephenville to its 10th consecutive bi-district playoff victory.
Williams rushed for 251 yards and caught seven passes for another 89 yards for Stephenville (7-3), which meets Lubbock Estacado in a Region I area playoff at Shotwell Stadium in Abilene at 7 p.m. next Friday, Nov. 21.
Stephenville amassed 621 yards of offense, the second time in three games they have exceeded 600 with backup Anthony Chavarria at quarterback. He had his second prolific outing in that stretch, going 23-40 for 368 yards and four touchdowns.
Chavarria’s biggest play was the fourth down pass to Williams in the fourth overtime. He was pressured, but shook off a potential game-ending sack before heaving the ball to Williams, who was tightly covered but won the jump ball in the end zone.
Quarterback Justin Myers rushed 31 times for 162 yards for Decatur, while teammate Payton McAllister was also a workhorse with 154 yards on 34 rushes. Decatur rushed for 330 of its 576 total yards in their second straight overtime game. Graham erased a 14-point deficit in regulation and edged Decatur 54-48 in a single overtime on Nov. 7.
Touchdowns finished every possession of the four overtimes. Williams took over in the clutch for Stephenville, rushing for 24 yards to set up a 1-yard Chavarria keeper in the first OT, then scoring on runs of 16 and 22 yards in the next two.
Decatur was just as efficient with its high-powered offense, scoring in the first OT on a 9-yard pass from Myers to McAllister, who had six catches for 75 yards. Myers was 22-38 passing for 246 yards and, like Williams for Stephenville, hard a hand in seven touchdowns. He rushed for four and passed for three.
Decatur’s second and third overtime scores came on passes of five and four yards to Eddie Martinez and Tanner Shields. McAlister had a 1-yard TD run, his second of the night, in the fourth overtime. Pass plays failed on Decatur’s two-point conversion attempts in the final two overtime stanzas.
All the overtime chaos came after Stephenville, which did not connect on a single field goal during the regular season, hit two in the final three minutes of regulation, to stay alive. Michael Fick connected from 24 yards out to tie the game at 35 with 2:16 remaining, but Decatur had no plans of continuing past regulation.
A pass interference penalty against Stephenville helped Decatur out of second-and-long to begin its final fourth quarter possession. Three plays later, Myers hit Gunner Parker for 23 yards to the Stephenville 16. McAlister ran twice for four yards, and after an incompletion on third down, Jorge Martinez drilled what appeared to be a game winning 29-yard field goal. with 20 seconds left.
But with Chavarria doing his best Jarrett Stidham impersonation – the Under Armour All-American is on the mend after surgery to repair a broken bone in his throwing hand – Stephenville managed to invoke some of the magic it used on a final minute touchdown drive against Big Spring in last year’s playoffs.
Decatur kicked the ball straight out of bounds into its sidelines – apparently intentionally – to give Stephenville the ball at its own 35 with no time running off the clock. A defensive holding penalty moved the Jackets 10 yards closer, then Chavarria and Darian Brown hooked up for 21 yards to the Decatur 34. Stephenville took its final timeout with nine seconds left.
After searching for a receiver on the ensuing play, Chavarria scrambled to his right with the seconds ticking down, stepping out of bounds with two seconds remaining. Decatur committed a huge penalty, hitting Chavarria while he was out of bounds. The run was 12 yards to the 24, and the personal foul moved the ball half the distance to the goal – another 12 yards.
From the same right hash but five yards further back, Fick was true from 29 yards on the final play, sending the game to overtime tied at 38.
Decatur wasn’t the only team that felt it left the game on the field in regulation. Williams fumbled just before crossing the goal line from the one at the end of a long third-quarter drive by Stephenville, and Chavarria was sacked and fumbled to set up a 1-yard Decatur touchdown drive in the second quarter.
Williams, who also had a touchdown, scored once on the ground and three times through the air in the opening half before Decatur shut out Stephenville over the first 21:44 of the second half.
Stephenville beat the first half buzzer, too, as Chavarria and Austin Stufflebean hooked up for a 5-yard TD with five seconds on the clock, giving Stephenville a 32-21 lead. It came right after Myers had a one-yard score to bring Decatur within four following the Chavarria fumble.
Myers rushed for scores of 14 and 23 yards in the second half, the latter of those coming when he dodged defenders and ran across the field twice before turning up field and racing away on a 4th-down-and-17 to put Decatur on top 35-32 in the opening minute of the fourth.
It was Stephenville’s third overtime game – all in the playoffs – and second overtime win in seven seasons under Gillespie. The Yellow Jackets beat Forth Worth Dunbar in extra time in a 2008 bi-district contest, and fell to eventual state champ Aledo in an area round overtime game in 2009.
Sports can be unpredictable, and that was certainly the case for Stephenville yesterday. In a close game that went into overtime, the Yellow Jackets ultimately came out on top against their opponents. This is the third time in the playoffs that Stephenville has gone into overtime, and they have now won two of those games. This victory is especially impressive considering they were up against a team that had already beaten them earlier in the season. With this win, Stephenville advances to the next round of the playoffs where they will face a tough opponent. However, with the way they have been playing lately, they have a good chance of coming out on top once again.
Video of Gillespie’s post game quotes and more can be found on Facebook at The Flash Today – Erath County.