No. 2 Stephenville. No. 6 Aledo.

The Associated Press has certainly done its part in adding to the hype surrounding the District 8-4A football opener Friday between perennial powers Stephenville and Aledo.

The Yellow Jackets and Bearcats joined No. 3 La Marque, No. 4 Highland Park and No. 5 Corpus Christi Calallen in moving up one spot in the latest poll, released Monday by the AP.

The movement comes after previously No. 2-ranked Waco fell to Euless Trinity 27-7 last week. Waco is now No. 7, while Brownwood, Wichita Falls Rider and New Braunfels stay put in the final three spots. See complete poll on Page 6.

Stephenville and Aledo waged a classic at a packed Tarleton Memorial Stadium last year. Kody Spano delivered a 44-yard touchdown pass to Hunter Hendershot with eight seconds remaining to win the 28-24 thriller. The climactic ending was fitting for a game in which Stephenville surrendered 24 consecutive second-half points after taking a commanding 21-0 lead into the halftime break.

Aledo hosts this year's battle. Kickoff Friday is set for 7:30 p.m. Early ticket sales begin Wednesday at the SHS athletics office. Adult seats cost $5, while students get in for $3. Tickets will be sold from 8 a.m.-noon and 1-4 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, and from 8 a.m.-2 p.m. Friday. After 2 p.m. on game day, all tickets must be purchased at full price at the gate.

Brad Keith is the sports editor at the Empire-Tribune. He can be reached at (254) 965-3124, ext. 241, or by e-mail at