The visiting Stephenville Yellow Jackets were expected to provide a stiff subvarsity challenge when they came to Glen Rose on Thursday, and that proved to be the case.
Stephenville took a 19-0 halftime lead over the JV Tigers (2-5) and went on to win the game 40-9.
“That’s definitely the best offense we’ve played against,” said coach Keith Wheeler. “Crandall might have been a little more physical, but this was a tougher group (to defend) because of what they can do.”
The Stephenville defense was no slouch, as it held Glen Rose to six first downs through three quarters.
“That’s one of the best defenses we’ve played because of how they fly around,” said coach Erik Hartman. “We did have some drives against them, but the turnovers really hurt.”
On that note, each team turned the ball over three times, but the Tiger turnovers came earlier in the game and helped Stephenville pull away.
The first Jacket drive was a methodical, 10-play march that ended with a four-yard touchdown run (0-6, kick wide left). After a Tiger three-and-out, Stephenville used a pass interference penalty and three plays to score again. Right after a Drannon Brewer tackle for loss, a Stephenville receiver made a 41-yard touchdown grab in between two defenders (0-13, kick good).
“Brewer is playing well,” Wheeler said. “He’s a hard guy to block and he gets after it.”
The initial Glen Rose first down came late in the opening quarter on a nine-yard Jayton Dillard catch from Colton Lane, and Dillard would be heard from again.
The Tigers used a 13-yard Colton Bumpas catch and a 12-yard Chance Nabours grab to advance down to the Stephenville 33 before Bumpas lost a fumble.
After each offense went three-and-out, a Trevor Crawford tackle for loss helped make Stephenville punt again.
“I think we had Crawford on a stunt there and he was in the right place to make the tackle,” Wheeler said.
Unfortunately, the Tigers fumbled away the ensuing punt and Stephenville recovered at the Glen Rose 8. After Stephenville scored in three plays (one-yard touchdown run), the holder tried to run in for a conversion and Hayden Swearengin make the tackle on him (0-19).
“Any play we can make to help the offense out, we have to do it,” Wheeler said.
The Tigers made it to the Yellow Jacket 37 before time ran out in the half, as Trey Yocham ran for a first down and Dillard caught an eight-yard pass to move the chains.
“Yocham ran the ball hard,” Hartman said.
Tigers keep on competing
Nabours made an 11-yard grab early in the third quarter, but he left the field with an ankle injury. Glen Rose’s top receiver would return to the game and play hobbled the rest of the way.
“It’s tough for us when Nabours isn’t 100 percent, but I liked seeing Dillard, Bumpas and some of the other guys step up,” Hartman said.
After Glen Rose turned the ball over on downs at the Tiger 29, Stephenville scored in two plays (18-yard touchdown pass, kick good) for a 26-0 lead. When the Yellow Jackets forced another punt, their return man headed wide and delivered an 82-yard return to the Glen Rose 2. Two plays later, a one-yard touchdown run (kick good) made it 33-0.
After Yocham lost a fumble at the Tiger 39, Glen Rose got it back when Brett Taylor pounced on a loose ball at the Tiger 10. Stephenville would force a punt early in the fourth quarter and advance down to the Tiger 4 despite a John Henry Powell tackle for loss, but a bad snap on a field goal attempt allowed Weston Clifton to chase it down for the recovery way back at the Tiger 45.
“(Powell) was playing in the secondary and he just read run and did a good job of coming down right there,” Wheeler said. “I also want to mention Colton Miller. He’s still banged up, but you’ll never hear him talk about it. He gets in there and gets after it.”
The Tiger offense was still plugging away, and Nabours gained first downs with catches of 14 and 10 yards. On the drive’s fifth play, Lane got the ball to Dillard down the middle and he showed a good burst to the end zone from 25 yards out (6-33, kick failed).
“Dillard really showed me something with the way he caught that ball and outran the guy to the end zone,” Hartman said. “That was something special that made me want to get him the ball more.”
Glen Rose actually had more first downs in the fourth quarter (7) than the first three quarters combined.
“The guys were playing hard the whole time and that shows it,” Hartman said. “We want them to always play like it’s 0-0, and I never complain about their effort.”
On Stephenville’s next offensive play, Yocham recovered a fumble at the Yellow Jacket 39.
“We talked at halftime that we had to be intentional about trying to take the football, and they did a good job of getting the ball out,” Wheeler said.
A 19-yard Bumpas catch and a Stephenville penalty were the key plays that set up a 26-yard Hunter Phillips field goal (9-33).
“Hunter has been kicking well and practicing his field goals,” Hartman said. “I knew if I got the opportunity I’d give him a chance.”
Despite Lane throwing often and being pressured frequently, he didn’t throw any interceptions.
“Colton had to release the ball sooner than he wanted to at times because of pressure, but I was pleased he protected the ball,” Hartman said.
The Tigers went for an outside kick, but a Yellow Jacket caught it on the run and was able to return it all the way down the sideline for the game’s last touchdown (9-40, kick good).
In the closing moments, Yocham and Jacob Locke each ran the ball for first downs.
“Jacob came in there and ran the ball well,” Hartman said. “Swearengin always does a great job (running the ball) and he was a little hobbled out there. Everyone is trying to do their part to contribute.”
The JV Tigers will return to the field on Oct. 25 in Alvarado at 6:30 p.m.