The week off must not have hurt that much.
The Stephenville Yellow Jackets, who had not so much as practiced in a week, won the sixth annual Knights of Columbus Challenge of Champions this weekend.
The young team gave up just one goal in three games, and were awarded the championship on points. The tournament final, set for Saturday afternoon, was rained out.
“They did what they had to do,” head coach Ramsay Wright said.
Shelby Sharp was named to the all-tournament team, and had one goal for the Yellow Jackets. Mason Taylor scored twice.
The Yellow Jackets opened the tournament Friday against Waco, winning 2-0. Sharp and Taylor scored for Stephenville.
That afternoon the Yellow Jackets beat Everman 3-0. David Huxen and Victor Cano had goals.
Saturday morning, as the rain kept falling, the Yellow Jackets sent a message to district rival Lampasas with a 3-1 win. Taylor, Zack Rathburn and Cano were Stephenville’s scorers.
Wright said the Yellow Jackets “looked real rusty against Waco” but got progressively better as the tournament continued.
The team’s defense played well, he said, and has allowed just three goals in six matches so far this season. Trey Auvenshine is the team’s goalkeeper.
“You’re going to win some ballgames if you (only) give up half a goal a game,” Wright said.
On the other side of the field, the Yellow Jackets are getting looks but must execute better.
“We’re getting some opportunities, but we have to finish a few more,” Wright said. “We’ve still got some growing to do.”
The junior varsity also took part in the tournament, gaining “invaluable” experience against top-flight competition, Wright said. Standouts were goalkeeper Dustin Lingle, Andy Sikes and Darrell Kilcrease.
The younger Yellow Jackets even managed to score a goal against Abilene Wylie’s varsity, a group ranked in the top 10 in the state.
“It was tough, and they were playing high-level opponents,” Wright said.
The Yellow Jackets hit the road Tuesday to take on Waco University. The match is scheduled to begin at 5:30 p.m.