Originally published on Wednesday, December 12, 2012
Anyone who followed Texas high school football in the 1990's will remember Stephenville.
The Yellowjackets were led by current Baylor head coach Art Briles and won back-to-back state titles in 1993-1994 and 1998-1999.
However, Stephenville hasn't won a state title since the turn of the millennium, but can change that with a victory over El Campo in the Class 3A, Division I state title game Friday night at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington. This year, Stephenville (12-1) has returned to its dominant self a year after losing to Aledo in the quarterfinals of the class 4A state playoffs in back-to-back seasons. The Yellowjackets have steamrolled their playoff opponents this season, scoring at least 56 points three times.
"We've watched a whole bunch of film and we're still trying to find some weaknesses," El Campo head coach Bob Gillis said. "They have a great coaching staff and I'm sincere when I say these guys are well coached. They're a really good football team and we'll have to play lights out to beat them."
Led by Texas State commit Tyler Jones at quarterback, the Yellowjackets have feasted on a fast-paced offense that has racked up over 4,500 yards of total offense, 2,916 of which came through the air. Jones has proven himself to be one of the best signal callers in 3A with 26 touchdowns and only six interceptions.
"He's the best quarterback we've faced, by far," Gillis said. "He's a good extender of plays, but he doesn't cross the line of scrimmage and he has a rocket arm."
Jones also has plenty of options to throw to with three receivers catching at least 30 passes for over 500 yards. However, fellow Texas State commit Brice Gunter is the most dangerous threat with 52 receptions for 654 yards and 11 touchdowns.
"They present some real problems for us and anybody defensively," Gillis said. "We have to avoid the big play and try to limit them and make solid tackles."
Defensively, the Yellowjackets have been stingy in the points they've allowed. They have allowed teams to score 30 or more points just twice this season, including last week's 42-32 semifinal victory over Kilgore. The defense has averaged 20.2 points per game this season with a low of six points against Ozen in September.
"You can move the ball a lot, but if you don't move the ball into the end zone you can't score points," Gillis said. "We're just going to try and do what we normally do."
It has been a long 13 seasons since Stephenville has hoisted the state championship trophy. El Campo, on the other hand, has never won a state title.
No matter who wins Friday, one school will finally end its long drought.