Texas high school football: LBJ’s dream season ends in 4A DI title game loss, 38-21 to Stephenville

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ARLINGTON, Texas (KXAN) — Fumbles on the first four possessions put the LBJ Jaguars behind early and they just couldn’t recover in a 38-21 loss to Stephenville in the Class 4A Division 1 football championship game at AT&T Stadium.

Call it nerves or a hard-hitting Yellowjackets defense, but the Jaguars couldn’t secure the football at all in the first quarter and lost all four of their fumbles to give Stephenville a short field basically the entire opening frame. Stephenville capitalized on the turnovers to take a 17-0 lead after the first quarter.

Stephenville’s Coy Eakin was tremendous for the Yellowjackets with nine catches for 187 yards and three touchdowns. He also had a rushing touchdown and made two big plays on defense with an interception and forced fumble.

For LBJ, quarterback Oscar Gordon III completed 30 of 48 passes for 372 yards with three touchdowns and an interception. Two of the four fumbles came on bad option exchanges between Gordon and running back Sedrick Alexander, who came into the season with more than 2,000 rushing yards.

It was LBJ’s first loss of the season after being ranked No. 1 in Class 4A the entire year. It was the first time since 1973 an Austin Independent School District had made a football state title game, and it was the first time ever LBJ has played for the top Texas prize.

Below is a running recap of the big plays in the game. We will add quotes and highlights to the story later today.

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FINAL: Stephenville 38, LBJ 21. The Jags end their season with a 15-1 record.

3:15 4Q: Eakin hurts the Jags again, but this time on defense. He intercepts a deep Gordon pass in the endzone and that should wrap it up. Stephenville takes over on LBJ’s 20 yard-line.

4:38 4Q: Stephenville punter Reece Elston booms a 64-yard punt out of his own endzone to pin the Jags back at their own 26 yard-line.

5:45 4Q: LBJ comes up empty after the interception. A 4th down pass to Baker is just beyond his reach in front of the Stephenville coverage. The Yellowjackets get it back on their own 5 yard-line

7:23 4Q: Wait just a minute here … Stephenville QB Ryder Lambert throws an interception. LBJ’s Kaleb Brown picks it off and the Jags are in business at their own 47 yard-line. If there was ever a time for the googly eyes emoji, this is the time.

8:10 4Q: There’s no quit in LBJ. Gordon hits Baker for another TD, this one a 30-yarder down the sideline. PAT good. 11 plays, 75 yards, 3:00. Stephenville 38, LBJ 21.

11:09 4Q: That might have been the backbreaker from Stephenville. Eakin catches a pass over the top of a LBJ defender for a 31-yard TD. That’s Eakin’s 3rd receiving TD of the game, 4th overall. PAT is good. 9 plays, 74 yards, 4:39. Stephenville 38, LBJ 14

End 3Q: Stephenville 31, LBJ 14. It’s going to take a comeback for the ages for LBJ to stop the Yellowjackets from winning the 4A DI championship.

3:56 3Q: TOUCHDOWN – Immediately after a replay review overturned the previous call, Gordon hits Alexander for a 29-yard TD. PAT is good. 9 plays, 80 yards, 2:13. Stephenville 31, LBJ 14

4:04 3Q: We have a replay review on the field. LBJ’s Gordon threw it to Baker for what appeared to be a 10-yard gain on 4th and 9, but the ruling on the field is an incomplete pass. The ruling on the field is OVERTURNED and LBJ keeps possession with a first down.

6:20 3Q: LBJ’s defense is doing everything it can to keep them in it. They force a Stephenville punt that goes into the endzone for a touchback. LBJ takes over on Stephenville’s 20 yard-line, and the Jags have to get it going in a hurry.

8:57 3Q: More of the same for Stephenville as they stop LBJ on another 4th down. The Yellowjackets stuff Alexander again, and they take over on LBJ’s 48 yard-line

10:54 3Q: TOUCHDOWN – Stephenville scores on a wild play. Yellowjackets QB Ryder Lambert throws a deep ball downfield intended for Eakin, but LBJ’s Noah Baker intercepts it near the endzone. During Baker’s return, Eakin snuck up behind him and punched the ball loose, straight into the arms of teammate Kallan Kimbrough who returned it for a 10-yard touchdown. What. On. Earth. PAT good. Stephenville 31, LBJ 7

12:00 3Q: Stephenville will receive the 2nd half kick, leading LBJ 24-7.

FIRST HALF ANALYSIS: It’s the fumbles and ensuing short fields that have hurt LBJ the most, that’s obvious. Two of the fumbles came on the exchange on option plays, and if LBJ can’t make an adjustment to stop coughing it up, it’s going to be a long second half. On the other hand, if they get back to doing what they do best, getting Alexander and Gordon involved in the option game, then things could turn around. Neither team is running the ball particularly well, and even with all the fumbles, LBJ has run more plays than Stephenville, 44-33. It’s critical that LBJ stops Stephenville on the first possession of the second half to regain some confidence.

LBJ also has to find an answer for Yellowjackets wideout Coy Eakin. He has killed the Jags in the first half. Expect the Jags to double cover him the rest of the game.

HALFTIME: Stephenville 24, LBJ 7 – LBJ picks up a score late in the half, but four fumbles on the first four possessions have the Jags behind the 8-ball against the Yellowjackets. Stephenville’s Coy Eakin has eight catches for 156 yards and two TDs, and he’s also rushed for a score.

:25 2Q: LBJ forces a punt and takes over on its own 10. Do the Jags try to run a couple plays? Stephenville will get the ball to start the 2nd half.

1:17 2Q: TOUCHDOWN – LBJ finally gets the big play it desperately needed. Oscar Gordon hits Noah Baker for a 33-yard score. PAT is good. 4 plays, 76 yards, 0:58 on the drive. Stephenville 24, LBJ 7.

2:21 2Q: TOUCHDOWN – Eakin again scores for the Yellowjackets, his third TD of the game coming on a 43-yard catch-and-run off a slant that he broke two tackles on. PAT is good. Stephenville 24, LBJ 0.

3:06 2Q: LBJ’s drive stalls and they have to punt. It’s a 32-yard punt and Stephenville lets it roll to its own 41 yard-line. The Jags have rushed for just 21 yards so far.

4:27 2Q: LBJ’s defense does a nice job forcing Stephenville to punt, but they have got to get it going offensively with a big play. LBJ takes over on its own 15 yard-line.

9:06 2Q: Stephenville stuffs LBJ’s Sedrick Alexander at the 1 yard-line on 4th-and-goal and the Jags are denied a score. The Yellowjackets take over on downs.

10:21 2Q: LBJ gets bailed out by a Stephenville pass interference penalty on a 4th down play, and the Jags’ drive lives on with a 1st and goal-to-go from the Stephenville 9 yard-line.

End 1Q: Stephenville 17, LBJ 0. The Jags have lost four fumbles and Eakin already has 88 yards receiving for the Yellowjackets. LBJ starts the 2Q with the ball on its own 35 yard-line.

:46 1Q: FIELD GOAL – Stephenville kicked a field goal, but a penalty on LBJ gave the Yellowjackets a short 4th down so they decided to take it off the board and go for it. Stephenville went to run another play, but a false start penalty set them back, and decided a field goal was the way to go. Stephenville 17, LBJ 0.

2:32 1Q: LBJ fumbles again on an option play, Incredibly frustrating for the Jags. Stephenville takes over again with a short field on LBJ’s 21 yard-line. LBJ has turned the ball over on all four possessions so far. Oof.

4:39 1Q: TOUCHDOWN – Eakin again scores for the Yellowjackets, but this time it’s on the ground with a 7-yard rush. PAT is good. Stephenville 14, LBJ 0.

5:31 1Q: LBJ fumbles it again and Stephenville recovers it. A nightmare start for the Jags. Stephenville takes over deep in LBJ territory on the 5 yard-line.

5:58 1Q: TOUCHDOWN – Stephenville’s Coy Eakin makes a 1-handed catch in the corner of the end zone for 16 yards and the first score of the game. The PAT is good. 3-play, 34-yard drive that took 0:56. Stephenville 7, LBJ 0.

6:54 1Q: The Jags are snake-bitten again by the fumble, this time it comes on a bad option mesh. Stephenville now has it on LBJ’s 34 yard-line.

7:25 1Q: The fumble didn’t hurt the Jags in the end, and they force Stephenville to turn the ball over on downs. LBJ takes over on its own 38 yard-line. It’s still scoreless.

8:48 1Q: LBJ drives it deep into Stephenville territory, but the Yellowjackets force a fumble and take over at their own 15 yard-line. Tough break for the Jags.

12:00 1Q: Stephenville wins the coin toss and will defer possession to the second half. LBJ will receive the opening kick.

10:50 a.m.: It’s 10 minutes before kick-off! Before the Jaguars left town Thursday morning, they were sent off by the entire LBJ community with a pep rally.

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