Stephenville football fans may think it seems long overdue, but the first day of football practice for the Yellow Jackets will finally be here Monday.

Practice will begin at 7 a.m. on Monday and Tuesday and the starting time will switch to 3:30 p.m. on Aug. 9-11. The first day of working out in pads will be that Friday, Aug. 11.

Saturday, Aug. 12 is the day for the annual Blue/Gold intrasquad scrimmage at the high school practice field. It will also be photo day for the high school football players.

The Blue/Gold scrimmage action will begin at 8 a.m. with the freshmen followed by the junior varsity at about 9:30 a.m. and the varsity likely around 10:30 a.m.

Third-year head coach Greg Winder said he is expecting about 150 players in all to come out for football this year in the ninth through 12 grades.

He noted that the Yellow Jackets, like many others around the state, have done away with two-a-days because of safety concerns.

“I’m real excited about getting started this year,” Winder said. “We had a great summer with 7 on 7 and with our conditioning program.

“We have a group of young men who are eager to get out on the field, so it’s an exciting time of year. You can tell they’re eager and excited. It’s nothing but positives.”

The Yellow Jackets were 3-8 last season but made the playoffs with a 2-2 mark in District 3-4A, Division I.

SHS has 22 lettermen returning, including seven offensive and nine defensive starters. The preseason picks in Dave Campbell’s Texas Football magazine show Abilene Wylie as the favorite to repeat as the district champion, followed by Brownwood, Stephenville, Snyder and Big Spring.

This year marked a change in the summer approach for Stephenville High School’s athletes — in both the boys and girls programs. For the last four years, a group based in the Metroplex called Performance Course had been brought in to oversee the offseason strength and conditioning. This summer that changed.

“We decided we wanted to do it ourselves,” Winder said. “It worked out really well. The girls athletes had a great summer too. It was really good. It worked out really well."

The Yellow Jackets’ first football scrimmage will be Aug. 18 in Glen Rose, in a three-way event featuring Gatesville and Glen Rose. The freshmen are scheduled to start at 5 p.m., followed by the junior varsity and varsity teams.

The second scrimmage will be Aug. 25 at home against Granbury.

Stephenville’s regular-season opener will be Sept. 1 at home against Cleburne, with a 7:30 p.m. kickoff.

District games will start Oct. 20, in Brownwood.