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Jhett Jones leads Brock over Whitesboro and into UIL 3A state semifinals

Brock is in the state semifinals for the 6th time in the last 8 seasons

DENTON, Texas - Behind the stellar play of senior Jhett Jones the Brock Eagles rallied for a 30-19 victory over rival Whitesboro in the UIL 3A DI Region 1 Final on Thursday night. 

The victory puts the Eagles (10-4) in the Texas high school football state semifinals for the fourth time in two years.

“We knew that it was going to be a fight coming out,” Jones said after the game. “We beat them by half a yard the previous game so we knew they weren’t just going to hand it over. So we came out just as on fire as them. They started the game off hard, we started the game off slow, but the last two games we’ve obviously become a second half team.”

Jones caught nine passes for 101 yards and two touchdowns, and added three tackles and a key interception on the defensive side of the ball.

Both teams traded punts to start the game before Whitesboro took an early lead when Mac Harper threw deep to Karter Sluder over the middle for a 93-yard touchdown. A missed extra point left the score at 6-0.

brock whitesboro texas football

Harper had a huge game for the Bearcats, completing 12 of 26 passes for 256 yards and three touchdowns. He added 60 yards rushing on 17 carries.

On the next Bearcats' drive, they fumbled the ball and Brock was set up in excellent field position. Three plays later, Tyler Moody scrambled out of the pocket and fired a pass to a sliding Jones who hauled it in for a 13-yard score. The extra point gave the Eagles a 7-6 lead after one quarter of play.

Moody finished the game 18 of 32 for 245 yards and 2 touchdowns through the air, and had 10 carries for 16 yards.

Two plays into the second quarter, Whitesboro scored again on a fade from Harper to Jace Sanders (5 catches, 90 yards, 2 touchdowns) from 46 yards out. The two point conversion failed and the score remained 12-7.

Midway through the second quarter, it appeared the Bearcats were about to score again, but a miscommunication led to a botched snap that Brock was able to recover. Both teams traded punts before the first half drew to a close.

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“Coach [Billy] Mathis didn’t make any adjustments if I'm going to be completely honest,” Jones recalled. “He sort of said ‘It’s up to us.’ Just like he said last week. He told us ‘At the end of the day it’s up to y’all. If y’all want to go home, go home. But never give up and we have this game in the bag.’ And we had the game in the bag.”

The Eagles received the second half kick, and drove down to the Whitesboro 16 yard line to set up a 33-yard Brody Baker field goal to close the gap to 12-10. Both offenses were able to put together a few drives before the quarter ran out, but they all eventually ended in punts.

Early in the fourth quarter, Moody connected with Jones again from 33 yards out to give Brock the lead again at 16-12 after a failed two-point conversion.

On the ensuing drive, the Bearcats went right back to work. Harper drove his team deep into Brock territory before the Eagle defense eventually forced a fourth down. Whitesboro lined up with four receivers to one side and fooled the defense, leaving Sanders wide open for the score.

Brock needed a score in the final minutes and was able to cash in. After a long pass from Moody to Carson Finney, Reid Watkins did the rest from four yards out to put Brock ahead for good.

The ensuing drive only saw one play as Harper lofted a pass down the middle of the field, and Jones read it perfectly, positioning himself under the ball and coming down with the interception. Five plays later, Watkins put the final touchdown on the board for good measure to make it 30-19.

The Bearcats mounted one last drive, but Colt Matlock came up with a pick to put the finishing touch on the win, propelling Brock into the semifinal for the second consecutive year.

“We’ve been battle tested,” Jones said. “From week one, we’ve been battle tested. We’ve seen close games all around. Some district games that shouldn’t have been as close, the first four games of the season we played some top 4A teams, we’re battle tested and I think that that’s going to help us through these last couple of games.”

Brock moves on to play the winner of Grandview and Malakoff at 7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 8 at The Ford Center at The Star in Frisco.

Here are photos from Thursday night's game in Denton:

All photos by Tommy Hays

Brock vs Whitesboro December 1, 2022 Photo-Tommy Hays06
Brock vs Whitesboro December 1, 2022 Photo-Tommy Hays07
Brock vs Whitesboro December 1, 2022 Photo-Tommy Hays08
Brock vs Whitesboro December 1, 2022 Photo-Tommy Hays09
Brock vs Whitesboro December 1, 2022 Photo-Tommy Hays11
Brock vs Whitesboro December 1, 2022 Photo-Tommy Hays13
Brock vs Whitesboro December 1, 2022 Photo-Tommy Hays14
Brock vs Whitesboro December 1, 2022 Photo-Tommy Hays15
Brock vs Whitesboro December 1, 2022 Photo-Tommy Hays16
Brock vs Whitesboro December 1, 2022 Photo-Tommy Hays17
Brock vs Whitesboro December 1, 2022 Photo-Tommy Hays18
Brock vs Whitesboro December 1, 2022 Photo-Tommy Hays19
Brock vs Whitesboro December 1, 2022 Photo-Tommy Hays20
Brock vs Whitesboro December 1, 2022 Photo-Tommy Hays21