The Yellow Jackets season got off to a sour start Friday night as they were shell-shocked by the Venice (FL) Indians 37-8.
The omen for bad things to come started right off the whistle when first-time starting quarterback sophomore Easton Jones threw an interception on the first play. The Indians ran a reverse and scored only seconds later.
The story didn’t change in the first half either. Venice went on to force three interceptions which ultimately led to a 30-0 half time score.
The second half did show some promise for the Jackets though.
After the teams flip flopped failing to convert on fourth down, Easton Jones found receiver Malachi Taylor in the flats only about eight yards down the field. A couple of down field blocks later and Taylor was sprinting for the end zone on what resulted in a 62-yard touchdown reception.
That would be the only life the Jackets would see on the night though as Venice closed the game with a running clock to send Stephenville to 0-1 for the first time since 2012, when the Jackets lost to Monterrey Prepa Tech.
“The first play of the game we throw a pick and that’s about the tale of the game,” said head coach Greg Winder. “We were throwing it to the wrong team. I know we have a young quarterback that needs to grow up quick, and he will, but it was just not a good night for the offense. Venice is a good football team, but they aren’t that much better than we are. We just need to grow offensively. Defensively, I thought we did well. Overall, other than a couple of long runs, they fought their butts off.”
The Stephenville offense on the night was out gained 415-149 in total yardage. The Jackets didn’t manage to record more than 20 total rushing yards after sacks.
One bright spot though was the Stephenville team that showed up in the second half, and actually outscored Venice 8-7, and seemed a totally different one than what started the game.
According to Winder, the players responded well after halftime.
“I told them that when they come out there in the second just go out there and see what happens,” he said. “It’s 0-0, I don’t care what the scoreboard says. That says a lot about the character of our kids.”
The Jackets will look to bounce back next Friday night when they host Gatesville.