EVERMAN — The 1-1 Stephenville Yellow Jackets know better than to think that Abilene Wylie’s 0-2 season record indicates the Bulldogs are a weak team.
Coach Greg Winder’s Jackets earned their first win of the season last Friday night with a 41-16 road victory over Class 5A Division II Everman, which fell to 0-2.
The Jackets will take on Wylie Friday at Bulldog Stadium in Abilene, at 4502 Antilley Road. The kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.
The Jackets, ranked No. 6 in the state in this week’s Associated Press poll, know about the Bulldogs — a former district foe. They also know that Wylie’s two losses were to strong Class 5A Division I opponents.
Wylie’s season opener was a 31-7 loss to Georgetown. Last Friday, the Bulldogs were outscored by Lubbock Monterey, 28-21.
“They played two really good football teams,” Winder said of Wylie. “They had a chance against Monterey to win late. But they are the same old Wylie team. There’s nothing wrong; they have talent all over the field.”
Wylie head coach Hugh Sandifer ranks eighth among active high school football coaches in Texas with a record of 283 wins, 109 losses and four ties in his 32 seasons, according to Dave Campbell’s Texas Football online. That includes winning the 2004 Class 3A Division I state championship.
Winder made sure to explain to his players that Wylie’s crew — unaccustomed to losing — will be in a foul mood when they take the field.
“I told our young men, ’They’re going to be upset. Be ready to win the football game.’”
The Jackets will be facing a dangerous team that is a perennial playoff contender that uses multiple formations on both offense and defense.
“They’ve got a couple of big (players) up front on defense,” Winder said, adding that the Bulldogs have good speed in their secondary. “Offensively, they have a good quarterback. He can run it and he can throw it. Obviously they are a well-coached football team.”
Wylie uses both the 3-3 stack and the four-down linemen on defense, depending on the situation.
“You’ve got to prepare for both,” Winder noted.
On offense, senior Wylie quarterback Harrison Atwood passed for 147 yards against Monterey. Bailey Hicks, a senior tailback, provided 123 yards rushing for the bulldogs.
Winder said his players are still taking one game at a time, not looking too far ahead.
“They take care of business in practice. We preach one game at a time,” Winder said. “A win helps a lot of attitudes, coming off a hard-fought game against Everman. It’s definitely a boost for us.
“This group, it doesn’t matter who we play — they take it as a challenge.”
SHS linebacker Blu Caylor leads the team in tackles with 27, followed closely by defensive backs Chase Carrillo with 26 and Gage Graham with 25.
Receiver Kyle Lindsey is the leading receiver for the Jackets with nine catches for 156 yards. Sophomore wideout Gavin Rountree has caught two TD passes.
Quarterback Cole Stanley has thrown for 549 yards, completing 31 of 64 passes with four touchdowns and one interception.
Krece Nowak, in his third season as a starter at running back, leads SHS with 104 yards on 27 carries. Phillips has three TDs and has 69 yards on 20 rushing attempts.
SHS sophomore wide receiver Grayson Traweek remains sidelined as he continues to recover from a knee injury he sustained in the season opener against Argyle. He is expected to visit his doctor again this week.
Another injured sophomore, defensive back Kyle Styron, is still recovering from an ankle injury.
In the win over Everman, SHS sophomore Kason Phillips scored two touchdowns.
Quarterback Cole Stanley passed for 245 yards for the Jackets against Everman, completing 14 of 27 attempts.
Krece Nowak led the Jackets in rushing with 48 yards on 11 carries, and added 60 yards on four catches.
The Jackets were coming off a 45-35 loss to second-ranked Argyle in the first game of the season. They were No. 5 in the preseason AP rankings, and entered the Everman game ranked No. 8 by the AP before moving up two spots this week.
“It was a great win, and our confidence level should be really good,” Winder said of the Everman conquest. “Our kids have worked so hard, and this shows that it pays off.
The game was tight in the first three quarters, and the Jackets trailed early, 7-0, after a 63-yard TD run by the Bulldogs.
“That’s what Everman does, is big-play you to death,” Winder said.
Phillips’ first score, from 8 yards out, tied it at 7 with 9:20 remaining in the opening quarter.
SHS led by a slim 14-10 margin after the Bulldogs kicked a 27-yard field goal at the 3:55 mark in the second quarter.
That margin increased to 21-10 on a 12-yard TD run by quarterback Cole Stanley with 43 seconds left in the first half.
After a scoreless third quarter, the Jackets piled on three TD’s in the final quarter, including a 72-yard interception return by Payton Kimple.
Stanley also threw a 57-yard TD pass to Caden Cowan late in the first quarter.
Running back Krece Nowak scored on an 18-yard run at the 9-minute mark in the fourth quarter, and Kimple’s interception return came with just under 5 minutes left in the game.
The Bulldogs added their other TD on another big play, a 66-yard TD run, before SHS picked up its final score on a 2-yard scoring run by Phillips.
Cowan had a team-high 68 yards receiving on two receptions.
Wylie had been in the same district as Stephenville until UIL realignment moved the Bulldogs into Class 5A Division II, District 3. The Jackets will play Georgetown in Stephenville on Sept, 28, in their final non-district game.