In week one it was the defense — then last week the offense seemed to come alive.
That’s how the two preseason football scrimmages seemed to go overall for the Stephenville High School Yellow Jackets, who will open their 2017 regular-season schedule this Friday, Sept. 1, at home against Cleburne.
In the Jackets’ second and final scrimmage, played at Stephenville’s Memorial Stadium, they outscored Granbury 35-0.
The defensive unit was impressive in the first scrimmage, which was a three-way event in Glen Rose that also included Gatesville. Three Jackets intercepted passes in that outing.
But even after the offensive outburst against Class 5A Granbury, third-year head coach Greg Winder told his players they still had much work to do.
“We do have a lot of work to do — and they know that,” said Winder, whose team was 3-8 last season but qualified for the playoffs as the No. 4 team out of District 3-4A, Division I.
JACKETS VS. JACKETS
In their matchup against Cleburne’s Yellow Jackets, Winder’s Jackets will be facing a team with 16 varsity lettermen returning from last year’s 7-4 team that was 4-3 in District 9-5A.
Cleburne has a new coach, Casey Walraven, who built a strong reputation at Grandview with four playoff teams and an overall record of 43-15.
In its only scrimmage, Cleburne was outscored 21-14 by Class 4A, Division I Argyle in a timed half last week. Argyle was No. 3 in the state in Dave Campbell’s Texas Football magazine’s preseason poll among Class 4A teams, and No. 2 in Division I in a coaches poll.
Graduation poked a big hole in Cleburne’s offensive lineup with the loss of quarterback Tre’Von Bradley, who signed to play with the University of Houston. Bradley produced more than 4,000 total yards in total offense in his senior year alone, including 2,247 yards passing.
One Cleburne quarterback candidate, Austin Robinson, suffered an injury against Argyle. Junior Carson Gann, who was the junior varsity’s starting quarterback last season, is next on the quarterback depth chart.
Cleburne’s defense is anchored by 230-pound all-state linebacker Demarqus McGilveary.
Winder indicated he’s encouraged by the way the team has come together this season.
“This group has bonded together,” he said.
He said the Jackets showed him extra effort in the second scrimmage.
In that matchup against District 9-5A Granbury, sophomore quarterback Cole Stanley threw two touchdown passes — one from 55 yards to Blake Aragon and from 4 yards away to Kyle Lindsey.
Junior running back Krece Nowak scored on runs on 63 and 1 yards, and Gage Graham had a 5-yard TD run. On defense, Quentin Walker intercepted a Granbury pass as the Jackets shut out the Pirates.
“The effort was better, the execution was better, and the defense still created turnovers and tackled well.
“The offensive line played better. The quarterbacks played better. Cole and Tyler (Schouten) had the same number of reps, so they both got better.
“And the receivers played harder. Hopefully they grew up a little bit tonight.”
Stephenville’s next game will be on the road, Friday, Sept. 8, at Springtown. The kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.