As he sips a fresh cup of hot coffee while sitting at his usual table at Jake and Dorothy’s Cafe, longtime Stephenville resident Jerry Don Slawson ponders the question.
Who will win between Stephenville and Aledo?
“I went to the first (Stephenville vs.) Aledo game (this season) and we had a chance to win. We’ve improved since then and I’m sure they have, too. They have a great running back, but so do we,” said Slawson, whose son Jason played tail back for the 1994 Yellow Jacket team that won the second of the school’s four state titles. “Everyone in town will be there, I know that. It’s got a chance to be a great game.”
Good statement, but it didn’t exactly answer the question.
Jake and Dorothy’s waitress Rhonda Chew says she’s only been to a few Stephenville games this season, but is plenty excited about this one.
“It’s at Cowboys Stadium!” Chew exclaimed. “And I like the playoff games.”
Several members of the Jake and Dorothy’s staff are hoping cafe owner Kerry Roach will taxi them to Arlington for the big game, but Chew says her car will be gassed up and ready just in case a backup mode of transportation is necessary. Nothing, she says, will keep her from missing this game.
Bill Jones and his younger brother Dean were enjoying their coffee at a nearby table.
“My granddaughter (Macy Moncrief) is a cheerleader and my grandson (Jordan Jones) was brought up from the JV (for the playoffs),” Bill Jones said. “It’s all they have been talking about.”
The elder Jones says he won’t be able to attend the game, but that doesn’t mean he won’t follow it closely.
“It should be a great game,” he said. “I’m going to listen on the radio.”
“I’d say (the winner) has a decent shot (at a state title),” adds Dean Jones.
But who will the winner be on Friday?
“They’re building a good rivalry,” Slawson said of the two storied programs. “We have a home grown coach (Joseph Gillespie) who went through (Art) Briles’ program. And I know the Aledo coach (Tim Buchanan) has been there a long time and built that program basically from the ground up.”
After playing each of the last eight years with six of the meetings being decided in the final minute, how good is the rivalry becoming?
“I’ve been to every game they’ve played and it seems like it’s always gone down to the wire,” Slawson said. “It’s building up to be the same type of deal as the Brownwood rivalry.”
Slawson said the rivalry begins with having great programs that turn out great players.
“I know they have Ryan Christian at TCU and (Stephenville has) Jevan Snead at Mississippi, and there have been others,” Slawson said. “That James Myles is a big-time Division I prospect if I’ve ever seen one and he’s just a junior.”
Slawson only has two regrets about Stephenville playing Aledo for an area playoff.
“I wish they were playing later. In (4A) Division II, this would be a good state quarterfinal match-up,” he said. “In fact, I think whoever wins this game has a chance to go a real long ways.”
His other regret?
“I just wish they were playing Saturday in the afternoon so us old folks could get to bed at a decent hour,” he jokingly complained.
So who, after all, will be the winner?
They may be biased, but the Jake and Dorothy’s crowd is unanimous with their pick.
“I think we’ll win,” Chew says as she scurried from table to table.
“I think Stephenville will win by a touchdown, that’s my pick,” Slawson says.
“Heck yeah, I think we’ll win!,” exclaims Jones.