Flash staff report
October 17, 2022
Excitement or dread – it’s the game Yellow Jacket fans have been waiting for all season. The battle of #1 and #2 in the state takes place Friday night at 7:30 p.m. in China Spring at Cougar Stadium.
It’s rare for the top two teams in the state to be in the same district, but with China Spring (7-1, 2-0) entering Division 1 of 4A after their D2 state championship last year, the Stephenville Yellow Jackets (7-0, 1-0) have a major battle in District 5, 4A on their hands.
While China Spring has already defeated two other teams in District 5, Alvarado and La Vega, Stephenville has faced Waxahachie Life (2-5, 0-1), who they defeated last week, 20-63.
The Stephenville War Dogs (the defensive line) were out in force at Tarleton’s Memorial Stadium for Parents’ Night, holding the Life Mustangs to 20 points.
Leading the defense were senior Hayden Westbrook who had five solo tackles (one for a loss of yards) and three assists and junior Rowdy Markland who had three solo tackles and six assists. Junior Noah Bullion managed to sack the Life quarterback during the game and had two more solo tackles.
While the defense was shutting Waxahachie down, the Yellow Jacket offense was lighting up the scoreboard.
This game saw two Stephenville quarterbacks on the field as senior Ryder Lambert made his return since injuring his foot earlier in the season. Lambert was 6 of 10 for 121 yards and two touchdown passes. Sophomore Ryan Gafford, who has been at the helm since Lambert was injured, was 11 of 15 for 207 yards and four passing touchdowns.
Senior Payton Poston lead the receiving core for the Jackets, catching the ball six times for 113 yards and three touchdowns. Seniors Tytus Russell and Carson Sanford each had a catch for a touchdown and sophomore Tristian Gentry had seven catches for 79 yards and another touchdown for Stephenville.
On the ground, the Jackets were lead by senior Caden Henderson who carried the ball 10 times for 125 yards and a TD, while senior EJ Hiitola who had eight carries for 52 yards and a touchdown.
The Jackets are looking to bring two quarterbacks and a healthy Tate Maruska for the game against the Cougars on Friday.
It’s going to be a battle Friday night football fans aren’t going to want to miss.