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Austin LBJ loses 38-21 in final game of historic state championship run

Stephenville's Coy Eakin (left) dominated over LBJ as the Austin team lost 38-21 in their first state championship game. (Texas High School Football/Twitter)

For the first time in nearly 50 years, an Austin ISD school successfully made a run for the UIL State Championships as Austin LBJ headed to AT&T Stadium for the UIL 4A Division championship match Friday morning. But their historic bid for the state title came to a disappointing end as a slow start led to a 38-21 loss to Stephenville.

Austin LBJ was looking for a perfect end to an undefeated season as the Jaguars powered into the 2021 state championships with a shining 15-0 record, capped by a hard-fought 38-35 semifinal victory on Saturday. If they had won the title match, it would've been the school's first-ever state championship trophy.

But after a triumphant community sendoff Thursday morning, the runner-ups saw a slow start on the big stage as they gave up multiple turnovers from the starting whistle to go 17-0 by the end of the first quarter.

Things were looking up for LBJ as they took the opening kick and pushed deep into Stephenville territory to start the game. But the Yellowjackets' tyranny over the first quarter came fast as they forced a fumble and gained control of the ball on their own 15-yard line.

LBJ covered the wound and forced the Yellowjackets to a fourth down but saw another fumble at the 6:50 mark in a turnover that led to a triumphant one-handed catch to give Stephenville the first score of the game.

Now down 7-0, the Jaguars fumbled a third time and the ball eventually landed back in Stephenville's Coy Eakin's hands, who scored once more to make it 14-0. Another LBJ fumble led to a field goal for the confident Yellowjackets as they went into the second quarter with a 17-0 lead.

A few minutes into the second quarter, it looked like the Jags would finally get their first touchdown. But a staunch Yellowjacket defense held LBJ's Sedrick Alexander back in a fourth-down play on the one-yard line. Stephenville would score once more on a 43-yard Eakin catch-and-run before LBJ finally found the end zone at the tail end of the half.

The Jags began their comeback run with just over a minute left in the half as a pass from LBJ quarterback Oscar Gordon led to a 33-yard touchdown from Noah Baker. But just as Baker intercepted a Stephenville pass meant for Eakin to kick off the second half, a ball-hungry Eakin played hot potato and punched the ball out of Baker's hands for another Yellowjacket touchdown.

Even with a 31-7 deficit, the Jags wouldn't quit, forcing a fourth down and an overturned call to make their second touchdown as Gordon's pass to Alexander found the end zone to double their score.

Another Eakin touchdown further set LBJ back 38-14 to start the fourth quarter, and a last-ditch 30-yard touchdown from Baker gives the game its final score. The Jags fall 38-21 to for a final 15-1 season record.

LBJ's loss came almost totally in the hands of Eakins, who scored four of the team's five touchdowns and boosted the defense with an interception and forced fumble. The Jaguars' Baker took home two receiving touchdowns on 78 yards, while bad option passes from Gordon to Alexander, who took home a touchdown on 117 total yards, accounted for half of the team's four fumbles. Gordon completed 30 of 48 passes with 372 total yards, including three touchdowns and an interception.

Next up for a state bid are Austin-area schools Westlake and Liberty Hill, who will both play for the state championship on Saturday.


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