STEPHENVILLE -- Junior quarterback Tyler Jones closed his eyes and prayed.
Then, as Aledo missed a game-winning field goal with no time left, Jones and his Stephenville teammates erupted from the home bench at Tarleton State's Memorial Stadium. Just one problem, a personal foul negated the blocked kick, giving the Bearcats a second chance.
Again, Jones and the Yellow Jackets held their breath. And for a second time, this one a 28-yard try, Stephenville's Preston Brown blocked the Aledo attempt to secure an epic 48-47 win.
"I couldn't stop my legs from shaking," Jones said. "It was an intense moment."
Aledo blocked a Stephenville punt with five seconds left in the fourth.
The Bearcats tried to take the lead with 1:26 left in the game as well. QB Matthew Bishop completed a 35-yard TD pass to Willie Gibson down the left sideline, cutting Stephenville's lead to one. The Bearcats tried for two, but came up a yard short. Johnathan Gray took a handoff and cut back up the middle, where he was stopped.
Stephenville, which had trailed 20-3 and 34-17, controlled the line of scrimmage on several key plays.
"They out-physicalled us, they outcoached us, and they deserved to win," Aledo coach Tim Buchanan said.
Gray, who finished with 219 yards rushing on 28 carries with four TDs, gave the Bearcats a comfortable lead on their first play of the second half, a 58-yard TD run. But Jones and the Yellow Jackets answered.
"Stephenville never quits," said Jones who finished 20-for-27 for 230 passing yards and three TDs.
Jones scrambled for a 31-yard score to cut Aledo's lead to 34-24. After Aledo scored on a 69-yard pass play from Bishop to Gibson, Jones led another TD drive that ended with a 17-yard TD pass from Jones to Hunter Bernays.
Aledo fumbled the next kickoff, and Stephenville took the lead with a 15-yard TD from Jones to Brice Gunter, who had 10 catches for 133 yards.
The win snapped a five-game Stephenville losing streak to Aledo, and ended the Bearcats' 29-game overall win streak that includes two state championships.
Gray rallied his teammates: "We know this is a hard loss, but we have to leave it here and go back to work next week."
Brent Shirley, 817-390-7760