The Stephenville Yellow Jackets are halfway through spring football, and head coach Chad Morris likes what he sees.
“To this point, it’s gone good,” he said. “I’ve been real pleased so far.”
The goal of the full-pads practices has been to provide coaches with answers about how different players respond to pressure — and to get in some hitting — before the fall.
“We just want to find some guys that want to play,” Morris said.
A few new names popped up among Morris’ list of standout players, including Alex Bracy, Seth Reding and Chris Ferguson on defense, running backs Brad Mills and Trey Taylor and offensive linemen Josh Grantham and Tom Dodson.
With two more weeks to go, there’s still plenty of time for players to make their push to the top of the depth chart.
Soon, the team will be starting summer conditioning and 7-on-7. The latter kicks off Saturday, May 26, with a state qualifier in Granbury. Four more weekends of action follow, as Stephenville tries to return to the state meet, held July 13-14 in College Station.
A look ahead
The Yellow Jackets will only have one scrimmage this fall, versus Weatherford here Aug. 24, because of spring football.
The season begins soon after in a return to the HEB Heart of Texas Kickoff Classic Thursday, Aug. 30, in Waco. The Yellow Jackets will face Midway, and will be looking for more breakout performances along the lines of quarterback Kody Spano’s seven-touchdown explosion in last year’s game.
The home opener versus Azle follows, Sept. 7. Stephenville great Kevin Kolb’s No. 4 jersey is tentatively scheduled to be retired at that game, Morris said. Kolb was selected by the Philadelphia Eagles in the second round of last week’s NFL draft.
“It’s just a childhood dream of every kid (to play in the NFL),” Morris said, and only a “very, very select few” get the opportunity to make it come true.
The ceremony will honor “one of the best that’s ever worn the navy and gold,” he said.
A long road trip follows, as the Yellow Jackets head to Wichita Falls to take on Rider Saturday, Sept. 15. The two teams split their games last season, with the Raiders winning a 17-13 nailbiter in the Area playoff round.
And while many observers may look to this third game of the season as a big test for Stephenville, Morris said it would one in a long line of tests.
“Every game is going to be a big test for us,” he said. “We’ve got to continue to get better.”
The rematch with the Raiders, he allowed, would be “a heated ballgame.” So will Stephenville’s season opener, at Aledo Sept. 28. Hunter Hendershot’s last-second game-winning touchdown grab was one of the 2006 season’s unforgettable moments, and with the way the Yellow Jacket-Bearcat rivalry has grown, the 2007 edition is likely to have several heart-stopping plays of its own.
Homecoming is Oct. 5, versus Alvarado, followed by Oct. 12’s contest at Joshua. The team returns the following week to take on Cleburne. Hall of Fame ceremonies will also be held that week.
The Yellow Jackets will make the drive up Highway 281 to face Mineral Wells Oct. 26, and return for senior parent’s night Nov. 2 versus Crowley. The regular season finale will be at Everman Nov. 9.