“We feel like, if we just keep punching it, something will break,” said Stephenson coach Ron Gartrell, whose team snapped a three-year losing streak to their Region 6-AAAAA and county rivals.
“We’re playing against a great defense over there. You’ve got to give them a lot of credit. But our offense just got it done when it needed to get done.”
So did the defense.
M.L. King got the ball back on its 20 with 6:53 left, not too long removed from a 15-play, 80-yard, 7:58 third-quarter drive that put the Lions in front 6-3.
So both teams knew the Lions were capable of taking it down the field again.
Aided by some clutch play by quarterback Roland Rivers and a personal-foul penalty, the Lions marched to the Stephenson 9 with first-and-goal with 2 minutes left.
But penalties then bit the Lions. A holding call took it back to the 26, followed by an illegal-substitution penalty that left them with second-and-goal at the 31.
They couldn’t recover, and Stephenson held on.
M.L. King finished with almost 250 total yards, but the Lions had a difficult time punching the ball in the end zone.
Roland Rivers led Stephenson with 141 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions on 12-of-28 passing.
Stephenson’s Robert Pritchett finished with 24 carries for 75 yards.