MANSFIELD -- Stephenville quarterback Tyler Jones scored on a 3-yard run with 2:09 left in the game as the Yellow Jackets held off Kilgore 42-32 in a Class 3A Division I state semifinal Friday at Newsom Stadium.
Stephenville (12-1) will attempt to win its fifth state title when it meets El Campo (14-0) in the state championship game at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington.
Kilgore (11-2) opened the second half driving 73 yards in 13 plays to cut the lead to 35-24 with 6:41 left in the third quarter, and then did something few teams have done this year. The Bulldogs didn't allow Stephenville to score on three consecutive possessions, forcing two punts and intercepting a Yellow Jackets pass.
The interception by Kilgore's A.J. Davis gave the ball to the Bulldogs at their own 30 and seven plays later quarterback, Cooper Coldiron hit Aaron Foy with a 22-yard scoring pass to cut the lead to 35-32 with 5:08 left in the game.
Jones, however, guided Stephenville on a 75-yard scoring drive. Jones carried four times on the drive for 33 yards and connected on a 26-yard pass play to Brock Morrison.
Jones finished with 17 completions on 24 attempts for 297 yards and rushed for 111 more on 20 carries. The senior scored five TDs, four rushing.
The Yellow Jackets were up 14-0 before Kilgore ran a play from scrimmage as Stephenville started the game with a seven-play, 91-yard drive capped by a 1-yard sneak by Jones.
On the ensuing kickoff, Brice Gunter's hit knocked the ball loose from Kilgore return man Jarod Wood, and Jarrett Stidham recovered for the Yellow Jackets at the Bulldogs' 17. Two plays later Jones carried it in again, from 19 yards out, for a 14-0 lead with 9:03 left in the first quarter.
Kilgore then showed its vaunted rushing attack as the Bulldogs took only three plays to cover 62 yards. Kevrin Justice raced 45 yards for the score to close the gap to 14-7.
Justice and teammate Austin Jordan accounted for 140 and 132 yards, respectively, of Kilgore's 372 rushing yards.
After a 3-yard TD run by Witt Westbrook, giving Stephenville a 28-10 lead, Kilgore turned the ball over again on the kickoff. Tyler Pettit's recovery at the Bulldogs' 29 set up a scoring pass of the same distance from Jones to Alex Sanchez for a 35-10 lead.
Jordan scored on a 70-yard run late in the half for Kilgore and the Bulldogs picked off a Stephenville pass with 0:33 left in the half, but were unable to move in position to close the gap more.
We welcome your comments on this story, but please be civil. Do not use profanity, hate speech, threats, personal abuse, images, internet links or any device to draw undue attention. Comments deemed inappropriate will be removed and repeated abusers will be banned. NOTE: If you log in using your Twitter account, your comments will be signed using the name on your Twitter profile, NOT your Twitter user name. Read our full comment policy.