By RUSSELL HUFFMAN
November 28, 2020
Stephenville FAITH (10-2) broke away from a 16-16 tie to establish a 20-point lead at halftime and went on to beat the Fort Bend Chargers 74-51 in the TAIAO D2 State Championship game in Blum Saturday.
The title is Stephenville’s 8th championship in 10 years and the first under Coach Chance Yankie, whose staff engineered a powerful offensive attack that was almost overshadowed by the Knights’ aggression on defense.
Stephenville ended up with the football either via turnovers or on downs six times as the Knights blitzed or laid back and seemed to have the right schemes at all the right times against the Chargers.
“This feels just awesome. I am so pumped for these boys more than anything,” Yankie said. “This group had the potential to accomplish so much, and we knew if all the chips fell just right, we could win a title.
Kyle Corb, the game’s Offensive MVP, accounted for eight touchdowns that he split evenly between passing and rushing. Corb’s ability to extend plays frustrated the Chargers (11-3), who did not have an answer for the mix of plays Stephenville drew up against them.
“Kyle has been our spark plug. He can make a quick play, and he is just so lethal and combined with Tristan Saxon they came together and just made it all complete,” Yankie said.
Saxon earned the game’s Defensive MVP award as he terrorized the Charger’s offense with an intense rush and getting an essential stop in the fourth quarter that ended Fort Bend’s chances.
“At the beginning of the season, I told you that Tristan was the heart and soul of this team, and he just proved it over and over again today on both offense and defense,” Yankie said.
FAITH drew first blood on its second play from scrimmage as Corb established the tempo early and scored on a winding 30-yard run
Dylan Aardal came up big for the Knights on a fourth-and-long play on FAITH’s next possession as Corb found him for a short pass, and Aardal bulled his way to a first down with two defenders on his back.
The play set up Corb’s six-yard scoring run, and he added more damage with his PAT kick that was one of many he would make over the day.
Fort Bend quickly knotted things up with a 21-yard scoring pass to make it 16-16.
Corb kept things alive again as he made a nifty fourth-down run that blew life back into Stephenville’s third possession, and he tossed a 45-yard scoring pass to Connor Corb on the next play.
The Knights failed to capitalize on a Dalton Hamby fumble-recovery and coughed to the up ball on downs, but Aardal’s 30-yard pick-six got the Knight back into the end zone for a 30-16 lead.
Connor Corb’s onside kick recovery set up a Samuel Yankie 34-yard touchdown reception from Corb, and suddenly Stephenville was in command of the contest 38-16.
K. Corb kept things rolling with a 30-yard touchdown run as the two teams exchanged a pair of scores before halftime. Yankie’s second touchdown grab of the half kept the Knights on top 56-28.
The two teams went back to exchanging scores as Fort Bend took its opening possession down the field and made it 56-34.
Stephenville’s first possession of the second half stalled, but Hamby’s second fumble recovery set up a 28-yard score by K. Corb. The Knights dug into their bag of tricks with an Aardal shuttle pass to Saxon, who beat the chargers on a 40-yard romp.
“I would have to say that the shuttle pass was definitely a highlight for me, but so was the sack I made on fourth down,” Saxon said.
K. Corb added icing to the cake on the Knights’ final touchdown as he turned a broken sweep play and reversed direction across the fiend before finding Travis Robertson on a short dump pass and the final 74-51 tally
“We were running a sweep right, and I reversed and saw Travis over the top of the defender. There was nowhere for me to go, so I flipped it up and over, and Travis made a whale of a play,” Corb said.