Stephenville has made three additions to its varsity roster, and at least two appear to be permanent.
Junior receiver Tyler Pettit (5-9, 175) and sophomore linebacker David Jackson (5-9, 170) traveled with the varsity Yellow Jackets to Mesquite Horn two weeks ago, and head coach Joseph Gillespie and staff have decided they will remain on the varsity roster.
"First of all, they're both good football players with the ability to make us better," Gillespie said. "We have some depth concerns, especially with Aiavion (Edwards) out, and Witt (Westbrook) helping us a lot on offense."
Westbrook moved from receiver to linebacker this season, and led the team in tackles through the opening four games. With Edwards out, Westbrook was the primary running back in Stephenville's victory over Mesquite Horn two weeks ago.
"With Witt having to play a lot of offense and being limited some defensively because of that, we need a guy like David Jackson with us on Friday nights," Gillespie said. "We wanted (Jackson and Pettit) playing on Thursdays so they could get more reps, but they're certainly capable of being Friday night guys."
Gillespie says both could be one play away from being starters.
"We always have depth concerns, we don't have the numbers to just come at you in waves," the head coach said. "(Receiver) Alex Sanchez is already playing with a broken hand, and we have a number of other injuries that are just typical for the middle of the season."
The tenth-ranked Jackets will also have junior offensive lineman Nick Pack (5-11, 250) in uniform when they host San Angelo Lake View in a District 8-4A opener Friday, but immediate plans are for him to return to the junior varsity next week. Starting lineman Trevor Stephens is questionable for Friday's contest after suffering a concussion at Horn.
"We want to give ourselves the best opportunity to be successful at every level, but that begins with winning on Friday night," Gillespie said. "Bringing these guys up gives us our best chance to do that because it helps to shore up some of our concerns as far as our depth."
Gillespie had no update Tuesday morning on Edwards' possible return from a foot injury suffered in a contest at Lewisville Hebron in Carrollton on Sept. 16. The senior three-way all-state selection is still in a cast and using crutches.
"It's a rare injury, rare enough that doctors can't really say from experience how long the healing process will take," Gillespie said. "The one positive indicator we've received is they still don't believe he needs surgery. He'll get evaluated again here in a couple weeks and hopefully we'll know more."
Honorable-mention all-state quarterback Connor Washington suffered a broken foot in the season opener, turning the reins of the offense over to junior Tyler Jones. Like Edwards, Gillespie was unable to offer a specific timeline for Washington's possible return.
"He's working hard, he's doing all the things he needs to do to try and come back, and that's all he can do at this point," Gillespie said.
Senior defensive back Charles Cain was injured during 7-on-7 play over the summer, and has not played a down this fall. Gillespie said he continues to rehab in hopes of being ready when the playoffs begin.
Senior linebacker Tyler Floyd, a 26-game starter as a sophomore and junior, had shoulder surgery over the summer and is out for the season as he attempts to rehab in time for the start of baseball, where he is a returning all-state catcher.
"When you have that many injuries, some of them prolonged injuries, you can see the need for adding depth," Gillespie said. "And the kids we're adding aren't just bodies to have around, they're good football players and even better young men."