Noah Mescher ran for 375 yards on 27 carries and scored five touchdowns to lead the Salado Eagles past the visiting Stephenville Yellow Jackets tonight. Salado trailed 31-19 at the half, but scored 42 second-half points to win 61-45 and improve to 2-1.
The Eagles started both halfs by losing a fumble on the first play of scrimmage, but other than that played dominant, grinding football over an opponent that was larger on the line.
Stephenville led by as much as 38-19 after converting a fumble into a short 34-yard drive, capped by a 16-yard pass from Gavin Rountree to Trace Morrison early in the third.
The rest of the game was Salado and most of that was Mescher, who scored four second-half touchdowns. Salado responded to the Jackets by driving 79 yards in five plays, scoring on a 22-yard pass from Hutton Haire to Reid Vincent. The Wrook Brown kick brought the score to 38-26.
Salado defense forced the Jackets to punt, giving Salado the ball at their own 30 yard line. Runs of 11 yards by Mescher and Vincent set up a 48-yard run through the middle of the Yellow Jacket defense by Mescher for his second TD of the night. Brown’s kick brought Salado closer 38-33 with 6:44 left in the third.
Brown returned a Stephenville punt 30 yards and a personal foul tacked on more to give Salado the ball at the Stephenville 33. Six plays later, Mescher punched it in from the 1. Haire hit Peyton Miller for a two-point conversion for Salado’s first lead of the night, 41-38.
The Eagles defense forced the Jackets to another three-and-out series with the Eagles taking over at their own 47 yard line after a short punt. Mescher scored three plays later on a 14 yard run up the middle. Brown’s kick made it 48-38 with 11:20 left in the game.
Miller intercepted a fourth down pass, giving Salado the ball at their own 49 yard line. Ten plays later, Caden Strickland ran in from the Stephenville 6 yard line. The PAT failed and Salado led 54-38 with 5:28 left in the game.
For the third straight time in the second half, the Salado defense forced Stephenville to a three-and-out series.
Salado took over at their own 39 yard line. A 19-yard run by Vincent was followed by runs of 23 and 19 by Mescher for the final TD for Salado. Brown’s kick gave Salado a 61-38 lead with 3:56 left in the game.
Stephenville was able to score with 23 seconds left in the game on a 5-yard run by Phillips. The kick brought it to 61-45.
In the first half, the Yellow Jackets took advantage of Haire’s fumble on the first play from scrimmage to set up a 42-yard scoring drive. Phillips dove in from the one yard to cap the eight play drive. Corbin Poston kicked the extra point for a 7-0 lead with 6:32 in the first.
Salado answered by driving 80 yards in eight plays, including Wrook Brown’s 35-yard touchdown run. Brown made the kick to knot the score at 7-7 with 3:12 left in the first.
The Yellowjackets responded with a 57 yard scoring drive that included a 38 yard run by Phillips. Rountree hit Reece Elston for a 12 yard touchdown pass with 1:36 left in the first. Poston kicked the extra point for a 14-7 lead.
Salado drove 50 yards but were stopped on a fourth-and-two at the Yellow Jacket 15. The Yellowjackets then went 85 yards on 11 plays, scoring on a 9-yard pass from Rountree to Morrison. Poston’s kick made it 21-7.
Vincent answered by needling through the middle of the Stephenville defense for a 68-yard touchdown on the third play of an 80-yard scoring drive. The PAT failed and Salado trailed 21-13.
Ryan McBurney recovered a fumble caused by Josh Huckabee on the ensuing kick, but the Eagles could not convert the opportunity, turning the ball over on a punt to the Jackets’ 19.
The Yellowjackets scored three plays later on a 68-yard pass from Rountree to Trace Morrison with 3:22 left in the half.
Salado answered with a four-play 79-yard drive. Mescher covered 64 of the yards on a first down, after he fell on Reid Vincent’s fumble to keep the ball in Eagle possession, setting himself up to push the ball in from the 1 yard line. The PAT was no good and Salado trailed 28-19 with 2:03 left in the half.
The Yellowjackets used all of it with Poston booting a 26 yard field goal to give Stephenville a 31-19 lead at the half.
Noah Mescher had the best game of his career with 375 yards and five touchdowns on 27 carries. Reid Vincent had 163 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries.
Salado had 615 yards on the ground and 25 in the air.
Kasen Phillips led the Yellow Jackets with 106 yards on 20 carries.
Gavin Rountree led the Yellow Jackets with 209 yards passing on 30 attempts and 20 completions. His favorite target was Trace Morrison, who had 7 catches for 154 yards and three touchdowns.
Stephenville had 180 yards rushing and 209 yards passing.