Do you hear that.
In the background. It’s barely audible.
It’s the Rolling Stones playing the Stephenville Yellow Jackets theme song for this week.
“Time is on my side. Yes it is.”
Coach Joseph Gillespie and his coaches are priming their team for a final push into the playoffs. And a major part of that push is getting backup quarterback Anthony Chavarria deeper into the offense he’ll be running next week against a rugged Abilene Wylie defense.
Chavarria threw six touchdowns and accumulated 385 passing yards in relief of an injured Jarrett Stidham last week in Big Spring.
With the extra week, that means more reps for Chavarria.
“Time, time, time, is on my side.”
But the loss of Stidham has not diminished the plans for the ‘Jackets, according to Gillespie.
“I think our kids are very confident,” he said. “I have confidence in us, especially after walking off the football field (in Big Spring). As long as you don’t give up, because we could have given up early. They bloodied our lip by scoring, then we lost our quarterback.
"We could have given up and things could have gotten ugly. Not one time, on either side of the ball, in any aspect of the game, was there ever a time in that game when I thought we were giving up. Those young men don’t know how to give up.”
Gillespie said, besides sliding Chavarria into the starter’s role, the bye is an opportunity for fine-tuning every aspect of the team prior to the playoffs.
“Here’s an opportunity to iron out some wrinkles,” he said. “Not just offensively and at the quarterback position. But the whole team. Defensively. Everything.”
While the ‘Jackets are off, their next opponent, Abilene Wylie, hosts Big Spring in a game with huge playoff implications. A Big Spring win means the Steers claim the District 3-4A crown. If Wylie takes the game, Stephenville and the Bulldogs remain in the chase.
“We’re very much in this hunt,” Gillespie said. “I’m a Wylie Bulldog fan this week. I don’t know if they want much of my advice, but I’ll be rooting for them to beat those Big Spring Steers. Then we can have a showdown between us and Abilene Wylie and have us a big three-way tie. If they don’t we’re going to fight like heck anyway. We want momentum going into the playoffs.”
The SHS coach said the extra time afforded via the bye week allows them to move a little slower in their preparations.
“Obviously the reps for Anthony have been limited,” he said. "He understands our offense. That was apparent from six TDs thrown the other night, but our hurry-up, our no-huddle and our signals, our tempo, a different voice in the huddle, those things change with a new quarterback.”
One aspect the SHS coaches will emphasize during the off week is upping the game’s tempo
“That’s what we’re trying to get to,” Gillespie said. “That hindered us a little bit (last week). We wanted to go a little faster at the end of the game.”
And he admitted Stidham’s experience made a difference in the way the team prepared with him under center.
“There are a few things we can’t do,” Gillespie said. “There were things we couldn’t do when Jarrett was taking his first snaps as a starter his junior year, running at that tempo. We had to pick and choose what we did.
“He’s had 14 games last year, seven games this year and with that, you can run your whole offense out of the huddle or no-huddle. We have to take this in steps.”
But many of those steps were taken last week.
“I thought our offense, our coaches our kids, did a wonderful job of changing on the fly. There are so many things that come into that. Just a different voice changes the tempo, a different snap count, the timing, the cadence is a little bit different. And, man, they did a great job.”
Cue the theme music.
“Time is on my side. Yes it is.”
And the positives coming from the 64-57 loss to the Steers allows the team to continue toward their goal without a major overhaul this late in the season.
“Now, we have the opportunity to say, ‘We don’t have to work on those things this week,'” Gillespie said. “'Y’all have that down.’ Those are typically the things you have to work on when you have a change at quarterback.
“That’s a huge progressive step forward. Anthony Chavarria’s got 95 percent of a game under his belt. It’s not like we’re going into Wylie not knowing what we’re capable of doing.”