Yellow Jackets undefeated in district

Stephenville beats La Vega, 23-14, for Senior Night at Memorial Stadium


Flash staff report
November 6, 2023

The Stephenville Yellow Jackets (8-2, 4-0) closed out the regular season Friday night with a 23-14 win over Waco La Vega (6-4, 2-2) at Tarleton’s Memorial Stadium to complete an undefeated district season. It was Senior Night for Stephenville HS and with nearly 100 seniors honored, the crowd was loud from kickoff on. 

It was a tight game for the entire first quarter as both defenses held strong. However, the Stephenville offense opened it up in the second quarter, scoring 17 points. But the Pirates answered by with 14 of their own to keep the game close. Six points in the fourth quarter by SHS gave the Jackets the edge and the win.

Stephenville quarterback, Ryan Gafford, went 15 of 25 for 217 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions. Gafford’s main targets for the night were Tate Maruska, who had five catches for 33 yards, Tristian Gentry with four catches for 112 yards and a touchdown and Noah Bullion, who had three catches for 44 yards. 

On the ground, Gafford had 17 yards in five carries, while Stephenville’s main running back, Maruska, went 122 yards in 22 carries and a touchdown. Gentry also carried the ball twice for five yards.

Diego Chavarria scored a total of 11 points for the Jackets on Friday night. Chavarria’s two PATs counted for two points. He also made three of the four field goals he attempted for nine more points. 

The Yellow Jacket defense had a good night, keeping La Vega scoreless in the first quarter as well as the entire second half of the game. Senior Hudson Butchee had 14 tackles, two for loss of yardage. Camden McKinney had 11 tackles, two for loss, Caleb Taylor had 10 tackles, Austin Jergins and Brighton DeVivo had 9 tackles each and Wesley Griffin had 8. Both DeVivo and Blair Floyd had interceptions during the night and Phillip Wiggins had a fumble recovery.

Following the win and the undefeated district season, the Yellow Jackets were named District 5, 4A Champions, and now they are headed to the 4A state playoffs again. The Jackets will face Fort Worth Western Hills for their bi-district matchup. The Cougars (5-5, 4-3) are coming out of District 6, 4A in fourth place, having beat Diamond Hill-Jarvis, 70-6, last week. 

Stephenville is ranked No. 5 by Texas Football Magazine and fellow District 5 team, China Spring (7-3, 3-1) is ranked No. 7. Brownwood (9-1, 4-0), who is coming out of District 2 in first place with their only loss this season to the Jackets in September, is ranked No. 6.

After a flip, the Jackets will have home field advantage and the Cougars will be coming to Stephenville. Kickoff is at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, November 9, at Tarleton State’s Memorial Stadium. Tickets can be purchased at the gate.  

Photos by CHERYL HATTON || Check out more on her website here.

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