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FORMAN: Ricebirds unable to keep up with Stephenville's Jones

By Victoria Advocate
Dec. 15, 2012 at 6:15 a.m.

El Campo's Jarrin Henderson hangs his head following the Ricebirds 70-35 loss to Stephenville in the Class 3A, Division I championship game in Arlington.

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ARLINGTON - El Campo's Bryce Brandl and Stephenville's Tyler Jones will be classmates at Texas State in the fall.

Jones will play football and Brandl will play baseball for the Bobcats.

If the two ever cross paths in San Marcos, Brandl knows exactly what he'll say to Jones.

"I'll tell him good job," Brandl said. "He's a heck of an athlete. I've got to give props to him because they're a really good football team."

Jones showed what kind of quarterback he is by passing for 422 yards and five touchdowns and rushing for 125 yards and four touchdowns to lead the Yellow Jackets to a 70-35 Class 3A, Division I state final win over El Campo on Friday night before 17,655 at Cowboys Stadium.

"The quarterback he's the difference," said El Campo coach Bob Gillis. "They have really good receivers, but if you don't have a quarterback who can deliver it. Texas State has a really good player."

The Ricebirds (14-1) scored 35 points and put up 393 yards of offense, but it wasn't nearly enough to stop Stephenville (13-1), which scored on every possession but two. Jones was intercepted by Koy Kresta in the first half and the Yellow Jackets ran out the clock the last time they had the ball.

"That quarterback just had an awesome game," said El Campo lineman Trey Martin. "It was his night. He had pretty much a perfect game except for that pick. He played great. We couldn't stop him and we couldn't slow him down."

The Ricebirds pulled within seven points three times, the final time coming with 1:08 left in the third quarter. But they could never get a stop on defense, as the Yellow Jackets rolled up 621 yards of offense.

"That was a tough deal," Gillis said. "We felt like if we could just stop them. That's not really our brand of football. We don't want to get in a scoring battle. And we felt like we had to. It wasn't our brand of football."

Stephenville became the first team to score 70 points against El Campo since Glen Flora did it in 1927. The most points the Ricebirds had yielded this season was 32 against Columbus.

"It was very frustrating," said El Campo defensive end/tight end Cole Hunt. "Our offense came off the ball. I mean we put up 35 points. Most of the time when you put up 35 points you should win a game. They just kept coming back and we could never keep up with them. A high-powered offense we couldn't slow down."

Jones' performance overshadowed an outstanding night for Brandl at quarterback.

He rushed for 144 yards and three touchdowns, and passed for 127 yards to keep the Ricebirds in the game until the fourth quarter.

"We never stopped fighting," Brandl said. "We play to the very end. We just fell short this time."

Stephenville won its fifth state title, while denying El Campo a chance to win its first in its second trip to the state final.

"I have real mixed emotions," Gillis said. "We're happy we're here and proud of our record. We're 14-1, but I don't know if I'll ever get back as a coach so certainly we're disappointed about it. Regardless of the score, they could have beaten us by 70 or by one we're disappointed."

Mike Forman is a sports writer for the Victoria Advocate. Contact him at 361-580-6588 or mforman@vicad.com, or comment on this column at www.VictoriaAdvocate.com.

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