SAN ANTONIO — The stage was grand, and so was Lampasas’ performance.
Playing inside a stadium capable of holding the small town’s entire population nearly 10 times over, the Class 4A-Division I No. 6 Badgers excelled, reaching the Alamodome’s end zone on seven consecutive possessions to tie their season high for points.
Ace Whitehead delivered another six-touchdown outing, receiver Jaylon Porter topped the 200-yard plateau and Jack Jerome produced 120 rushing yards, propelling Lampasas to a 66-44 victory against Needville and into the Region IV championship.
Following the win, Jerome admitted the Badgers’ simply have too many options.
“That’s something we can do,” the senior said, “because we just have so many weapons offensively. Even our backups are weapons.
“It doesn’t matter if someone is having a bad game, because somebody else will just step up and fill in for them.”
Guided by Whitehead, who completed 17 of 21 passes for 370 yards and four touchdowns along with 15 carries for 78 yards and two scores, five players accounted for Lampasas’ nine touchdowns highlighted by Porter’s trio of touchdowns.
The senior’s first catch came on the third snap of the game and went for 39 yards into the end zone, but the extra-point attempt failed, and the 6-0 advantage held until Whitehead connected on a 39-yard field with 3 seconds remaining in the first quarter.
Then, the teams began alternating scores with almost every drive, combining for 42 points in the second quarter, punctuated by Jerome’s 6-yard touchdown run and Whitehead’s 10-yard touchdown to Brenton Webb in the half’s final four minutes to give the Badgers a 32-19 advantage.
“Any time we go into the locker room,” said Porter, who finished with five catches for 211 yards, “the score goes to 0-0. Then, we come out and play like it.
“We’re just trying to put points on the scoreboard.”
And they did. Repeatedly.
Needville (10-3) scored on the first play of the second half to pull within seven points after missing the extra point, but the Bluejays would not get any closer.
Lampasas (12-1) recorded a touchdown on each of its next five drives, including 73- and 39-yard receptions from Porter to open the half, before kneeling on the ball inside Needville’s red zone to run the final seconds off the clock.
“That is a good team,” Whitehead said, “and we knew we had to come out and execute, and we did that, especially in the second half.
“The offensive line took over, and they just dominated in the second half.”
The showing helped thwart a 224-yard, four-touchdown outburst from Bluejays senior running back Ashton Stredick and a six-catch, 198-yard, two-touchdown outing from teammate Vincent Villarreal.
Now, the Badgers turn their attention toward extending their longest postseason run since 1993 against a familiar foe.
Lampasas will play District 14-4A rival Liberty Hill (8-5) in the regional final Saturday at Cedar Park’s Gupton Stadium. Kickoff is set for 2 p.m.
The Panthers are coming off a 24-6 victory against El Campo for their sixth consecutive victory. During the span, Liberty Hill outscored its opponents 272-36 — a far cry from when it lost at Lampasas 52-10 on Oct. 18.
“We know Liberty Hill is a very good team that is used to playing football in December,” Badgers head coach Troy Rogers said.
“We’re going to get the best Liberty Hill team there is, but I feel good about what we are doing and where we are at.
“The main thing is we get another chance to play football, and we’re still getting better.”
LAMPASAS 66, NEEDVILLE 44
At San Antonio
Needville 0 19 12 13—44
Lampasas 9 23 13 21—66
LAM—Jaylon Porter 39 pass from Ace Whitehead (kick failed), 10:48.
LAM—FG Whitehead 39, 0:03.
NEE—Trevor Baker 1 run (Eduardo Vega kick), 11:28.
LAM—Daunte Cuffie 1 run (Whitehead kick), 8:58.
NEE—Vincent Villarreal 71 pass from Baker (kick failed), 8:01.
LAM—Safety on errant snap, 4:54.
LAM—Jack Jerome 6 run (Whitehead kick), 3:58.
NEE—Ashton Stredick 22 run (pass failed), 0:50.
LAM—Brenton Webb 10 pass from Whitehead (Whitehead kick), 0:19.
NEE—Villarreal 70 pass from Baker (kick failed), 11:43.
LAM—Porter 73 pass from Whitehead (Whitehead kick), 10:06.
NEE—Stredick 3 run (run failed), 7:10.
LAM—Porter 39 pass from Whitehead (kick failed), 6:01.
LAM—Whitehead 34 run (Whitehead kick), 10:17.
NEE—Dax Bridges 60 pass from Baker (pass failed), 10:00.
LAM—Whitehead 1 run (Whitehead kick), 6:21.
LAM—Cuffie 5 run (Whitehead kick), 4:18.
NEE—Stredick 65 run (Vega kick), 3:20.
First Downs 21 24
Rushes-Yards 34-225 43-277
Passing Yards 330 370
Comp-Att-Int 12-25-0 17-21-0
Punts-Avg. 2-21.5 2-26.5
Return Yards 76 177
Fumbles-Lost 2-1 2-1
Penalties-Yards 4-40 10-110
RUSHING—Needville, Stredick 27-224, Walker Warncke 3-15, Baker 4-(minus 14). Lampasas, Jerome 21-120, Whitehead 15-78, Cuffie 6-68, Porter 1-11.
PASSING—Needville, Baker 12-25-0-330. Lampasas, Whitehead 17-21-0-370.
RECEIVING—Needville, Villarreal 6-198, Warncke 5-72, Bridges 1-60. Lampasas, Porter 5-211, Cameron Everts 4-75, Michael Murray Jr. 6-71, Webb 2-13.
MISSED FIELD GOALS—None.