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Football: Argyle comeback bid falls short in playoff loss to Stephenville

MANSFIELD — The ball has bounced in favor of Argyle over the years, but on Friday night against another tradition-rich program, it didn't.

With six seconds remaining in the game, Argyle's kicker lined up for a 25-yard field goal attempt from the right hash mark to tie Stephenville. The kick was a line drive to the right of the goal post. No good. 

The miss capped a wild fourth quarter as Stephenville hung on to win 31-28 in a Class 4A Division I semifinal at Vernon Newsom Stadium.

It was the second straight season Argyle lost in the third round of the playoffs.

"We still had an opportunity to kick the field goal to tie it," Argyle coach Todd Rodgers said. "We've struggled with our kicking game all year, so we knew it would be a calculated risk. It just didn't work out. I hate for it to all it came down to individual players like that, but it's a tough deal."

Argyle (12-1) wouldn't have had the chance to tie the game had it not been for an interesting play call by Stephenville one drive earlier. The Yellow Jackets faced a fourth-and-17 from the Argyle 26-yard line. Instead of kicking the field goal, they went for it. Quarterback Easton Jones was sacked for a 9-yard loss, the seventh time the Eagles sacked him.     

Argyle immediately rolled down the field, with its biggest playing coming off a 33-yard run from senior running back Don Williams. Two plays later, the Eagles still weren't in the end zone and opted to try to tie the game.

"We gave it everything we had and left it all on the field, but we it didn't turn out for us this year," Williams said.

It was a wild game that saw both teams put up some impressive numbers, especially in the fourth quarter.  

Box score: Argyle vs. Stephenville

Clearman completed 15 of his 29 passes for 236 yards and a touchdowns. Williams accounted for all four of Argyle's touchdowns — three rushing and one receiving. He led the Eagles' rushing attack with 23 carries for 149 yards and added three receptions for 41 yards.

Meanwhile, Jones completed 16 of his 29 attempts for 263 yards and two touchdowns for Stephenville. His top receiver, Blake Aragon, hauled in nine catches for 156 yards and two scores.

Argyle trailed the entire game.

Up 14-7 at halftime, the Yellow Jackets receiving the opening kick and used only 35 seconds, driving  65 yards in two plays to extend their lead. Both plays were passes from Jones to Aragon, who capped the scoring drive with a 43-yard catch and run.

Two series later, Argyle responded with a two-play drive of its own. Williams scored from 15 yards out — his second rushing touchdown — after starting the series with a 13-yard carry.

The teams traded punches for the rest of the game, but Argyle failed to make the last big play.

"We stopped them and drove them back 20 yards," Rodgers said of the final minutes. "We got ourselves in good position, executed and went down the field and had an opportunity."

In his last game, Williams helped the team in a big way and had nothing but respect for Stephenville following the heartbreaking loss.

"Stephenville is a great program, and we wish them the best luck during the rest of their season," Williams said. "On that last drive we had some success, but it sucks the way it turned out. We have to give credit where it's due. Stephenville played a heck of a game."

JIMMY ISBELL can be reached at 817-781-0379 and via Twitter at @Jimmy_Isbell12.