For the past two seasons the Argyle football team has knocked Stephenville out of the playoffs, and by large margins.
After a two-touchdown lead by Argyle after one quarter, it looked as if the Eagles were on their way towards doing it again. But Stephenville shut Argyle down after that, allowing only a fourth-quarter field goal, as the Yellow Jackets rallied for a 21-17 win in a Class 4A Division 1 Regional on Friday night at Newsom Stadium.
Stephenville (13-0), ranked No. 2 in the final Class 4A D1 poll by Dave Campbell’s, will move on to the quarterfinals where they will meet No. 4 Melissa (11-2), a 41-14 winner over Waco La Vega.
No. 5 Argyle (11-2) started quickly, taking opening kickoff and running four plays while taking 1:35 off the clock to take a 7-0 lead. Eagle’s quarterback Jett Copeland found wide receiver Ward McCollum running all alone down the numbers on the left side and hit him in stride for a 62-yard score.
Eagle’s defensive back Jacob Robinson killed Stephenville’s opening drive, picking off a pass at the Argyle 19 and returning it to the 24.
Argyle then marched 76 yards in 13 plays capped by a nine-yard scoring run by Landon Farris to take a 14-0 lead with 2:34 left in the opening frame. Farris carried 10 times on the drive for 36 yards.
The teams traded punts before the Yellow Jackets finally got its offense moving. Starting at its own 10 yard line, Stephenville quarterback Ryder Lambert hit three pass plays, two of 13 yards, with the final one going to Coy Eakin for a 35-yard gain down to the Argyle 3.
Lambert bulled in on a quarterback sneak two plays later to cut the lead to 14-7 with 5:25 left before halftime.
Argyle was poised to up the lead back to 14 points after a long drive late in the second quarter. The Eagles faced a third and goal at the Stephenville one, but a fumble into the end zone was recovered by Yellow Jacket defensive lineman Austin Brown for a touchback with 1:09 left before the intermission.
Stephenville clamped down on defense in the second half allowing Argyle 96 total yards. The Yellow Jackets forced three-and-out punts on the Eagles’ first two series of the third quarter while scoring a tying touchdown in between.
Lambert hit Tytus Russell with a 17-yard gain on a play where Russell made a terrific catch on the sideline to give Stephenville a first down at the Argyle 11. Two plays later Lambert and Eakin connected for an eight-yard score to knot the score at 14 with 3:13 left in the third.
Argyle started the fourth quarter with a drive from its own 45 that stalled at the Yellow Jacket’s 19. Caden Dobson came on to boot a 36-yard field goal to retake the lead 17-14 with 7:34 left in the game.
The Eagles’ defense looked like it might have sealed the game, forcing a Stephenville punt on the Yellow Jackets next possession, but two plays later disaster struck for Argyle.
A fumble at the Argyle 44 was recovered by Stephenville’s Corbin Poston. It took the Yellow Jackets 11 plays, but Eakin darted up the middle from two yards out to give Stephenville a 21-17 advantage with 2:01 left.
Argyle had one more shot and the Eagles moved from their own 29 to the Stephenville 39, but lost the ball on downs with 23 seconds left.