SAGINAW — Sanger pulled out all of the stops against a formidable Stephenville squad on Friday night, but a strong first-quarter performance was about all the Indians could muster in their 52-13 loss at Saginaw's Roughrider Stadium.
"We ran out of bullets in a hurry," Sanger coach Cole Ford said. "Give Stephenville all the credit in the world. We threw some good punches early. They took it, and had a good plan in the second half."
On the first play from scrimmage, Sanger executed a hook-and-lateral to perfection as quarterback CJ Jackson tossed a quick pass to his wide receiver, who pitched it to running back Dameon Moser, and he did the rest. Moser found the outside edge and raced down the Stephenville sideline for an 84-yard touchdown.
It didn't take long before Stephenville lit up its side of the scoreboard with a 3-yard plunge from Blu Caylor.
The Indians responded with an eight-play, 77-yard touchdown drive capped by a 6-yard rushing touchdown by Luke Pennington.
Two plays into Stephenville's following drive, quarterback Easton Jones hit running back Krece Nowak in the flat, and he found space on the outside to score from 37 yards out for the first of his three touchdowns.
After two third-down conversions from Sanger, it couldn't gain the yard it needed on fourth and inches, giving the ball back to the Yellowjackets at midfield. Two rushes of 28 and 24 yards from Nowak followed, and the latter turned into six points for the Yellowjackets to gain a 21-13 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Neither team scored in the second quarter, but things only got worse for Sanger as Jackson and Pennington both suffered injuries in the frame. Pennington broke his collarbone on a run early in the quarter, and Jackson suffered a lower-body injury. Jackson later returned and finished the game.
"CJ couldn't run and we lost our starting running back heading into this game, and the guy we had to replace him in Pennington, he broke his collarbone," Ford said. "We couldn't catch a break, and when CJ is limited in the backfield, it was tough to get things going offensively."
Sanger (4-7) recorded nine total yards of offense in the second half.
Jackson ended his last game with Sanger by completing eight of his 19 passes for 128 yards and a touchdown. Pennington rushed eight times for 44 yards and a score, while Moser led the Indians with six catches for 106 yards and a touchdown.
"Ever since I moved here in the sixth grade, this community has always been supportive of me, my family and what I've been able to do on the field," Jackson said with tears in his eyes. "It's unfortunate that we couldn't do what we set out to do, but I couldn't ask for a better place to spend my high school career.
"I love my teammates, my coaches and Sanger. It hurts, but this is an experience I'll never forget."
JIMMY ISBELL can be reached at 817-781-0379 and via Twitter at @Jimmy_Isbell12.
Stephenville 52, Sanger 13
SN -- Dameon Moser 84 pass from CJ Jackson (Juan Martinez kick)
ST -- Blu Caylor 3 run (Chase Carrillo kick)
SN -- Luke Pennington 6 run (Juan Martinez kick failed)
ST -- Krece Nowak 37 pass from Easton Jones (Chase Carrillo kick)
ST -- Krece Nowak 24 run (Chase Carrillo kick)
ST -- Easton Jones 1 run (Chase Carrillo kick)
ST -- Chase Carrillo 0 FG
ST -- Quentin Walker 8 pass from Easton Jones (Chase Carrillo kick)
ST -- Cole Pettit 33 interception return (Chase Carrillo kick)
ST -- Krece Nowak 10 run (Chase Carrillo kick)
Rushing -- SN: CJ Jackson 11-59, Luke Pennington 8-44, Dameon Moser 7-19, Bryce Petty 3-3, Jese Menjivar 4-2, Dillon Wilkerson 1-1, ST: Krece Nowak 20-170, Easton Jones 11-40, Cole Stanley 3-23, Blu Caylor 7-18, Victor Moreno 3-4.
Passing -- SN: CJ Jackson 8-19-1-128, Baron Bailey 0-1-1-0, Luke Pennington 0-1-0-0, ST: Easton Jones 13-20-0-139.
Receiving -- SN: Dameon Moser 6-106, Hank Lemons 2-22, ST: Krece Nowak 4-63, Gage Graham 4-26, Blake Aragon 2-21, Kyle Lindsey 1-13, Cole Stanley 1-8, Quentin Walker 1-8.