ARLINGTON — Stephenville claimed its first UIL state football title since 1999 and fifth overall with a 70-35 victory over El Campo in the Class 3A Division I final Friday night before a crowd of 17,655 at Cowboys Stadium.
"That sounds like the most beautiful thing I ever heard," said Stephenville coach Joseph Gillespie shortly after the game.
The 70 points scored is a record in a UIL 11-man state championship game. Sulphur Springs beat Dayton 69-49 in a 4A Division II game in 2008, and Aledo tied that in 2010 with a 69-34 rout of LaMarque -- also in a 4A DII game.
Quarterback Tyler Jones passed for 425 yards and five scores and added another 125 yards and four touchdowns on the ground en route to offensive MVP honors.
"I couldn't do it without these other guys, I mean even the defense," Jones said. "Everybody played well, all 11 guys on the field played as a team and it was awesome to see."
Jones steered Stephenville to 621 total yards and 27 first downs. His favorite target was fellow Texas State recruit Brice Gunter, who caught nine passes for 151 yards and three touchdowns.
"Me and Brice have been growing up together since we were little kids and to be able to keep going with that and do what it takes to win state is great," Jones said.
Stephenville (13-1) never punted and was stopped only twice, once on a first-half interception and on Jones' kneeldown to end the game.
Sophomore receiver Jarrett Stidham grabbed four passes for 99 and a pair of scores and running back Witt Westbrook added 145 total yards from scrimmage for the Yellow Jackets.
El Campo (14-1) hung around for three quarters behind quarterback Bryce Brandl, who finished with 161 rushing yards and three touchdowns. But, defensive MVP Kody Hook came up with a huge stop on fourth-and-1 deep in Ricebirds territory to effectively end the game.
Stephenville defensive back Tyler Pettit returned an interception 55 yards for a pick-six later in the fourth to pad the lead.
"We told them at half that if we stop them a couple times, we're going to win this ballgame," Gillespie said. "We didn't get rattled and just kept fighting."
Jarret Johnson, 817-390-7760
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