By RUSSELL HUFFMAN
Oct. 10, 2020
Stephenville (3-4, 1-1) exploded for 24 second-half points, but No. 4 La Vega (5-1, 2-0) stayed in control and turned a 4-point lead into a 48-24 victory over the Yellow Jackets at Tarleton’s Memorial Stadium Friday.
After exchanging a pair of punts in the first quarter, La Vega struck for a two second-quarters scores to take a 14-0 lead into the locker room at halftime.
After spending a good part of the first half trying to seize control of the ground game and to keep the Pirates’ potent offense off the field, the Yellow Jackets started to stretch La Vega’s defense with the arm of quarterback Gavin Rountree.
The Jackets stalled out at the La Vega 17-yard line, but Corbin Poston made sure the trip down the field was good for three points when he split the uprights with a field goal.
The Jackets pulled to within four points when Rountree turned a potential loss into an 18-yard touchdown when he picked up a bobbled snap off the turf and wound his way through a sea of Pirates to dive into the end zone and a 14-10 score.
The Pirates response was a 61-yard touchdown by quarterback Jordon Rogers who tagged the Jackets for three touchdowns and 217 yards rushing on 17 attempts.
Following a Stephenville punt, La Vega extended its lead with an 8-play, 82-yard drive and Jar’Quae Walton capping the drive with a three-yard touchdown.
The Jackets went to the air, and Rountree found Coy Eakin for a 29-yard score, and Stephenville tried an onside kick the Pirates quickly covered and scored on the next play from scrimmage.
Stephenville’s next possession appeared to be in danger of stalling out until tight end Trace Morrison beat a pair of Pirate defenders on a double-tipped pass and came down with the ball. Morrison then broke a tackle and raced to the end zone to make it a 35-24 game.
Big plays and the failure to wrap up tackles hurt the Jackets’ defense, which has three starters sporting wrist casts.
La Vega accumulated 612 total yards, including 480 yards on the ground. Stephenville’s 414 yards came off of 293 yards of passing from Rountree, 16-31, 2TD, and 1 INT on the night.
Kason Philips, fresh off of winning the Texas Football magazine’s Mr. Texas Football award, rushed for 97 yards on 21 carries. Eakin had four receptions for 67 yards, Morrison had two catches for 75 yards, and Reese Elston accounted for 71 yards on six catches.
The win pretty much locks up the District 5-4A title for the Pirates, who were to face Brownwood next week, but that game has been canceled due to a COVID-19 outbreak among the Lions players.
Stephenville can maintain control of second-place with a victory against Life Waxahachie in a home contest next Friday.