Enthusiasm is contagious, and on Monday it swept over the Stephenville High School practice field in the form of Yellow Jacket football fever.

Coach Greg Winder’s Yellow Jackets took the field on the first day of football practice and the excitement level was obviously high.

SHS coaches told the players — 9th through 12th graders — that the field house would be open starting at 4:45 a.m.

The most dedicated players beat that mark, according to Winder.

“There was a lot of excitement. We had kids here at 4:30 this morning … ready to go,” Winder stated. “They want to get better. It was a real good first day.”

The varsity defense, in particular, consistently showed a spark of inspiration.

“The defense was flying to the ball,” Winder said.

Winder said that on offense, it’s surprising how much information the returning varsity players had retained from last season.

“You’re worried, starting over with the terminology and the plays, but it’s amazing what they retain.”

Stephenville, like many schools, won’t be having two-a-days — just one practice per day. The first two days started at 7 a.m. Because of teacher in-service training in the mornings starting Wednesday, the practices on Wednesday through Friday will begin at 3:30 p.m.

Thursday’s workout will be held at Tarleton State University’s Memorial Stadium so the players can get their first experience on the new artificial turf at the renovated facility where they play their home games.

Friday’s workout will be the first day Texas high school teams are allowed to suit out in pads.

Stephenville’s annual Blue/Gold scrimmage will be Saturday morning. The freshmen will start their scrimmage at 8 a.m., followed by the JV at about 9:30. The varsity intrasquad scrimmage will follow at approximately 10:30 a.m.

The first football scrimmage will be Aug. 18 in Glen Rose — featuring action against Gatesville and Glen Rose. The freshmen are scheduled to start at 5 p.m., followed by the junior varsity and then the varsity.

The second scrimmage is set for Aug. 25 in Stephenville against Granbury.

Stephenville’s regular-season opener will be Sept. 1 at home versus Cleburne (7:30 p.m. kickoff).