By BRAD KEITH
COLLEGE STATION (July 7, 2016) — Easton Jones delivered 17 touchdown passes including two to Mason Holstein in the final minutes of the Pool O finale, and an interception on the final play by Cole Pettit sealed the deal as Stephenville overcame a loss in the opener to win the pool on day one of the Adidas Texas 7v7 Championships at Veterans Park & Athletics Complex Thursday.
Stephenville begins competition in the championship bracket against Argyle at 9 a.m. Friday. It’s single elimination with games played back-to-back during the early rounds.
Jones hooked up with Holstein for the go-ahead TD, giving the Jackets a 28-26 lead over El Campo, and Pettit made sure it stood with his third pick of the day. Rett Dittfurth and Holstein also intercepted passes for the Jackets, who opened with a 32-31 loss to La Grange before scoring on its first eight possessions to dominate Tyler Grace Community, 58-33.
El Campo beat Grace, 34-27, and La Grange, 34-19, placing ECHS on the opposite side of the championship bracket against China Spring at 9 a.m. Friday. Grace upset La Grange, 39-34, and both are headed to the consolation bracket that begins play at 8 a.m. Friday.
Jones caught fire and directed 10 straight touchdown drives beginning with the final possession against La Grange, when Stephenville scored but failed on a potential game-tying conversion in the final seconds. The junior signal caller then led eight straight scoring drives against Tyler Grace before turning the offense over to backup Tyler Schouten. Jones also led a TD march on the opening drive against El Campo.
Cameron Frazier scored five touchdowns in the opening two games, all on passes from Jones, who hit Holstein for four scores on the day, Blake Aragon for three, Krece Nowak and Holdon Haile for two each and Kyle Lindsey for one on a spectacular leaping effort straight through a defensive pass interference that was obviously declined.
A defensive holding call on third down kept alive what proved to be the winning drive for La Grange, or Stephenville would have gone 3-0. The Jackets had to overcome a second-half offensive pass interference call wiping out a touchdown from Jones to Aragon against El Campo.
It’s the second straight year Stephenville has advanced to the championship bracket in their fifth straight and 12th overall tournament appearance. The Jackets reached the second round last year, falling to state runner-up China Spring.