Coming off their first win of the season, Stephenville is riding high and they’ll need to carry over every bit of momentum from their homecoming win against Graham last week if they’re to travel to Lubbock today and steal a victory from undefeated Monterey (5A).
The Plainsman enter Friday night’s duel against the Yellow Jackets riding a four-game win streak and flawless record, which includes wins against Odessa, Abilene Wylie, Amarillo Randall and Midland Lee.
“Monterey is a very good and talented football team. They have great skill players and they’re big up front. They have a solid defense and one of the best kickers I’ve ever seen,” said head coach Greg Winder. “They’re a solid football team at every aspect of the game.”
Stephenville is coming off its best performance of the season. After not being able to put together a full 48-minutes in the first four weeks of the season, the Yellow Jackets put on an impressive show in their 55-28 beatdown of Graham last week.
“We came out and had a fast start. We went down and scored on our first possession and that fueled us,” Winder said. “The kids jumped at that and we played excited for the entire game. Coming off of a win, it helps a lot of things and motivates us, which is key. Our practices have been good and the kids are excited about the game. I think we can carry that momentum over.”
One of the keys to last Friday’s win was something that Stephenville has done well all season - establish the run game.
Running back Krece Nowak rushed for more than 100 yards for the fifth consecutive game of the season and getting the running game going will once again be key for the Yellow Jacket offense.
“We’re going to have to maintain the line of scrimmage, if we can do that then we’ll have success. Last week, we used the option a lot on Graham because they didn’t prove they could stop it, Lubbock plays a different defense and they have the ability to cause some problems,” Winder said. “If we find a play that works, then we’ll keep attacking with it.”
Another factor in Friday’s game will be which passing attack for Stephenville shows up.
Stephenville's passing game has so far been hit or miss. But if Friday’s win says anything, the offense is finally starting to mold into a successful unit.
Quarterback Easton Jones looked as comfortable as ever and will certainly be a big factor in Friday's outcome.
“Easton did an excellent job sitting in the pocket and stepping up and finding someone to throw to last week,” Winder said. “He made some big throws in the pocket and and when he’s making plays like the big ones to (Kyle) Lindsey and (Cameron) Frazier it does nothing but spark your offense.”
While the offense is riding high, you certainly cannot forget the performance that the Stephenville defense put on last week.
After allowing 28 points in the first half, Stephenville’s defensive unit shut down the Steers’ offense and held them scoreless for the entire second half, including eight straight possessions. That shutout streak is something Winder hopes will also continue in Lubbock.
“We’ve got us a long bus ride ahead to Lubbock this week. We’ll get on the bus and rest on the trip, but we need to get there and be ready to play," said Winder. “We expect our young men to be up to the challenge against a great opponent. This is our last non-district game, we need more positivity out of this contest before we head into the open week.”
Stephenville and Lubbock Monterey will kick off at 7:30 p.m. tonight at Plains Capital Park in Lubbock.