By JESSIE HORTON
December 4, 2021
The No. 2 Stephenville Yellow Jackets pulled off another come-from-behind victory to clench the Region 2 title in Texas 4A-D1 football Friday night in Bedford. The Jackets (14-0) defeated the No. 4 Melissa Cardinals at Pennington Field, 24-21.
After a slow start offensively by Stephenville in the first half, two back-to-back sacks and a pick-six by the Jacket defense turned the tide.
The Cardinals got the ball to start the game on their own 35-yard line and took it straight down the field, getting 65 yards in two minutes and drawing first blood with 7 points on the board. The Stephenville offense went a quick three and out before more of the same as both teams’ defenses got stop after stop.
That was until about midway through the third quarter when the Yellow Jacket defense got two quarterback sacks in a row. Then Stephenville’s Ben Kirbo got a pick-six from the 35-yard line, giving the Jackets their first points of the evening.
Then, with five minutes left in the third, the Cardinals went for it on 5 and goal. And once again, the Yellow Jacket defense stepped up and stopped a pass to the end zone. Stephenville took over on downs and on the very next play, junior quarterback Ryder Lambert completed a short pass to senior Coy Eakin who ran it back for a touchdown. The Jackets went up 14-7 behind the sure foot of Corbin Poston.
Three minutes into the fourth quarter, Poston did it again, this time securing a field goal for the Jackets. And two minutes later the Jackets struck again, this time on a 36-yard pass from Lambert to Eakin putting Stephenville up 24-7 over Melissa.
But the Cardinals would not bow out easily, they came storming back from their own 35-yard line and scored a touchdown in about a minute following the Stephenville TD. And again, with two minutes left in the game, Melissa marched right down the field, scoring another touchdown bringing the score to Stephenville 24, Melissa 21.
After an attempted onside kick that was recovered by the Jackets, the offense was able to kneel out the last few seconds on the clock securing the Region 2 Championship for Stephenville.
The Jackets had 395 yards of total offense, 236 yards receiving and 159 rushing. QB Lambert was 13 of 30 for 236 yards with 2 touchdowns. His main targets were Eakin, who has four receptions for 173 yards and two touchdowns and senior Reece Elston, who caught 8 passes for 56 yards. On the ground the Jackets were led by junior Julian Iribarren, who 10 carries for 22 yards, sophomore Tate Maruska with 8 carries for 47 yards and Lambert, who kept the ball 9 times for 81 yards.
The Yellow Jackets advanced to the 4A-D1 Semifinal Championship game against the Region 1 Champions, Wichita Falls Hirschi Huskies (12-2) at The Star in Frisco on Friday, December 10, with kick off at 7 p.m.
No. 12 Hirschi defeated Springtown on Friday night, 32-6, to advance to the Semifinal matchup. On the other side of the bracket, No. 7 Tyler Chapel Hill (11-3) beat Little Cypress-Mauriceville, 31-14 on Friday for the Region 3 title and No. 1 Austin LBJ (13-0) will face Fredericksburg on Saturday for the Region 4 spot.
Round 5 ticket information: Tickets will go on sale Tuesday morning on SeatGeek.com. All tickets sales will be online and no tickets will be sold at the door. Tickets will be $12 pre-game and $15 on game day, Friday, December 10. The game will be at 7 p.m. in the Ford Center (The Star), located at 9 Cowboys Way Frisco, TX 75034. The Flash will post ticket information on Tuesday when it becomes available.