Creekside 34, Stephenson 27

Creekside, No. 6 in Class AAAAA, won its second consecutive region championship with a 34-27 win over No. 8 Stephenson, Friday night at Creekside’s Arrowhead Stadium.

The Seminoles (8-2, 4-1 in Region 6), the defending state champions, had defeated the Jaguars (7-3, 5-1) earlier this season, 28-14.

It didn’t take long for Creekside to jump out to a 7-0 lead. The Seminoles started the game by recovering an onside kick at midfield.  On the first play from scrimmage quarterback Felix Harper hit Joseph Perkinson on a crossing route  and after 15-yards was added onto the play for a late hit,  Creekside was set up at the Stephenson 12 yard line. On the next play Bricen Terry caught a screen pass from Harper and darted into the end zone just 24 seconds into the game.

Two Stephenson players bumped into each other try to catch a pop-up kick by Creekside’s Chizco Alejandre. Josh Moon recovered for Creekside at the Jaguars’ 30-yard line. Runs by Harper and  Terry moved the ball to the 9-yard line, and Perkinson caught a quick  screen from Harper and skipped into the end zone to stretch the Seminole lead to 14-0.

When Stephenson finally got an offensive possession they took advantage of it. After successfully fair catching another pop-up kick off at their 35-yard line, the Jaguars moved 65-yards in just six plays to cut the lead to 14-7 after Dexter Neal took a wide receiver screen pass from quarterback Dewann Ford Jr. 30 yards down the far sideline for a touchdown.

Creekside scored on its third consecutive possession when Alejandre capped a12-play drive with a 24-yard field goal to extend the Seminole lead to 17-7 late in the first quarter. Alejandre added a 27-yard field goal at the end of the second quarter to give Creekside a 20-7 lead at halftime.

Stephenson narrowed the gap to 20-13 on its first possession of the second half when Neal caught his second touchdown pass of the night, a 5-yard fade in the back of the end zone. The extra point kick failed.

After forcing Creekside to punt for the second consecutive possession, Stephenson fumbled away a chance to tie the game. Taking over on their 20-yard line after a touchback, the Jaguars fumbled on all three plays of their offensive possession.  Seminole defensive end Trae Philpots grabbed the last one in the Stephenson end zone to give Creekside its two-score lead again, 27-13.

The Jaguars answered quickly as Ford connected with Tyler Taylor on a 30-yard post to trim the lead to 27-20 late in the third quarter. But Creekside scored what turned out to be the game-winning touchdown on its ensuing possession when Harper capped a seven-play, 66-yard drive with an 8-yard touchdown pass to Tysean Carter.

Khalil Ladler scored on a 55-yard reception for Stephenson with 3 minutes left  in  regulation, and the Jaguars forced Creekside to punt, giving them another possession with :41 seconds left at their 29 yard line. But Ford’s pass attempt to Nekyle Lundy on the final  play of the game was knocked down.