Immediately following his team's scrimmage at Tarleton Memorial Stadium Friday night, fourth-year Stephenville head coach Joseph Gillespie told his team he had fun.
After the Yellow Jackets allowed Granbury past the 50 only twice all night and outscored the Pirates 10-0 in the one-quarter game simulation that ended the event, it was easy to see why the head coach was enjoying himself.
"We called a very manila game plan tonight, especially offensively," said Gillespie. "For being so manila, I thought it wasn't bad."
The least experienced areas of Stephenville's team are the offensive and defensive lines, and Gillespie's initial analysis was that both sides performed well.
"I would have to go back and watch the film to really tell you how they played overall, but my first response is that they did a pretty good job," he said. "I'm sure we'll see little breakdowns here and there, but that's what scrimmages are for."
The Jackets scored once on the first-team offense's opening series. Aiavion Edwards carried the ball three times on the drive including a one-yard touchdown plunge. The eight-play drive was fueled primarily by a 40-yard pass completion to Alex Sanchez and a 13-yard completion to Trent Morrison to convert a third-and-ten.
Sanchez hauled in a 70-yard TD strike later that was called back for a holding penalty.
Senior Connor Washington, a two-time honorable-mention all-state pick at quarterback, split time with both the first and second-team offensive units, as junior Tyler Jones got an equal amount of snaps.
Preston Brown and Brayden Coverdale each intercepted passes for the Yellow Jacket defense, which on two Granbury series didn't allow a yard. Coverdale would have scored easily on his pick return had the play not been blown dead, and Brown's interception would have setup the offense deep in the opponent's territory in a game situation. Brown also broke up a pair of passes, including one on third-down, and stopped a Granbury runner short in a fourth-down situation.
"Our defense played really well for the most part," Gillespie said. "Preston was great at one corner and that's what we expect from him. He's a gamer."
The most important thing, Gillespie said, was getting out of the scrimmage healthy.
"Getting a good scrimmage in is important because there are some things you have to go through at game speed so you can get them on film and learn and improve from them," he said. "But the most important thing in this deal is to come out of it healthy, and we did that."
The intensity will no doubt rise several notches this week as two-time defending 4A Division II state champ Aledo - which has defeated Stephenville in five straight meetings including twice in the playoffs - comes to Tarleton Memorial Stadium for Friday's 7:30 p.m. season opener.
"It's big because it's the first week, and of course, it's big because of who we're playing," Gillespie said. "But it's just that, it's the first week. You already get the feeling there will be a bigger one later down the road."