With the Stephenville/Brownwood football game days away, the E-T did some research and found that there are four Stephenville High School Yellow Jacket varsity football players on the roster this year whose fathers played against Brownwood back when they were students.
Two of those dads are members of the Stephenville High School Athletic Hall of Fame and all four of their sons are juniors this season.
The fathers talk about the intense football rivalry with Brownwood, just as their sons are now experiencing it now.
JASON POSTON AND SON JACOB POSTON
Jacob Poston is a 6-1, 270-pound offensive lineman for the Yellow Jackets — one of the blockers opening the holes enabling running back Krece Nowak to rush for an average of 9.9 yards per carry this season. Jacob is playing center for the Jackets, and also saw some varsity action last season as a sophomore.
His father, Jason Poston, is a 1991 SHS graduate who was inducted into the SHS Athletics Hall of Fame in 1996 as a result of his performances in football, baseball and track and field.
Poston said he played on the SHS varsity along with one of the other football dads in this article, Steve Roeming.
“It’s one thing to be part of the rivalry and one thing to be a player,” Jason said. “But it does not come close to being in the stadium and watching your son play. That’s a whole other level.”
Jason was voted all-state as the wide receiver and kicker for the Jackets, and played on the varsity football team in 1988, 1989 and 1990. That marked the beginning of the new era in football for the Jackets as they began to dominate Brownwood after the Lions had done that to them through most of the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s.
Jason said that he was on the SHS team that tied Brownwood 7-7 when he was a sophomore.
“You would have thought that we won state,” Jason Poston said of that tie. “When we pulled into town, we got a police escort into town.”
Later the same night Jason said excited fans formed a spontaneous rally honoring the team on the courthouse square downtown.
As a senior in 1990, with Jason Poston on the receiving end of passes from former quarterback Cody Ledbetter, the Jackets whipped Brownwood 42-24. That was one year after Brownwood posted a 63-21 win over the Jackets.
And Jason didn’t have to look up either score.
“That is when the rivalry really started,” Jason said of the victory his senior year. “Before that, if we were 1-10, a win versus Brownwood — that was considered a successful season.”
The remarkably successful head coaching stint of Art Briles at Stephenville was planted with his arrival for the 1988 season, and he eventually guided the Jackets to four of their five state football championships.
Jason Poston said that when he was a senior, Briles tried to downplay the Brownwood rivalry, emphasizing instead that it was crucial to win because it was a district contest.
“He treated it just like any other game,” Jason said.
Jason was named as the Abilene Reporter-News Class 4A Offensive Player of the Year, when he set Class 4A state records for receiving yards in a season (1,486) and number of receptions in a season (71).
His senior year, the Jackets were eliminated in the state semifinal round of the playoffs by Wilmer-Hutchins, which went on to beat Austin Westlake for the state title. Jason played in the Texas-Oklahoma Oil Bowl Game and played for Tyler Junior College in the Championship Bowl and the Shrine Bowl.
His senior year at Tarleton State he was a preseason all-America selection, but the team was 0-10 in the midst of its transition from NAIA to NCAA Div. II, he said.
Jason later coached football at Springtown High School, and then as an assistant under Briles at the University of Houston.
ROY GRAHAM AND SON GAGE GRAHAM
Gage Graham is a junior defensive back and receiver for the Yellow Jackets. He has nine pass receptions for 144 yards so far this season. On defense he has 61 tackles, averaging 10.2 stops per game.
Like his dad, Gage wears a No. 25 football jersey. It’s a number that has stayed in the family with Roy’s younger brother Keith also sporting the No. 25.
Roy graduated from SHS in 1987 and was inducted into the Stephenville High School Athletics Hall of Fame in 1998 for his accomplishments in football, baseball and track and field.
Roy said that the rivalry game against Brownwood was always the biggest contest for the Yellow Jackets when he played on the varsity and started on both offense and defense in 1984, 1985 and 1986.
Graham said that the SHS varsity squad he was on his sophomore year was 0-10, but Brownwood was still THE team to beat.
“It was like the Yankees and the Red Sox,” Roy said. “It was always good. It was just the game of the year, as far as I was concerned.”
Even though Friday’s contest is only the first district game for the Jackets, Roy said, “It’s going to be real important. That’s bragging rights. You don’t want to lose to them.”
Roy made all-district on both offense and defense twice. In a single game, Roy once rushed for 280 yards and six touchdowns.
Roy’s individual success preceded the team’s better luck that began in the 1990s under former head football coach Art Briles, who led the Yellow Jackets to four state championships.
As a player with Tarleton State University, Roy was on two teams that went to the national playoffs. Keith Graham, four years younger than his brother Roy, went on to play running back at Tyler Junior College and later Abilene Christian University.
STEVE ROEMING AND SON DEVON ROEMING
Devon Roeming, a 6-3, 230-pound right tackle for the Jackets, is a starter and, like fellow offensive lineman Jacob Poston, also got valuable varsity playing time as a sophomore. Devon Roeming was switched from a defensive end position for this year.
On the junior varsity track team last fall, Devon won district in both the shot put and discus.
Steve Roeming said he was a defensive end for SHS who played on the varsity in 1988, 1989 and 1990 and graduated as a classmate of Jason Poston in 1991. Steve also played some a on the offensive line.
“My junior year, we lost to (the Lions), and my senior year was the first time we won (during his time on the varsity),” Steve said. “They were the big boys on top of the mountain.”
Playing under head coach Art Briles, the players were influenced on how to approach the Brownwood rivalry.
“Not only were you doing (playing) for your football team, but you were doing it for your town. Failure was not an option. That’s what he was telling us,” Steve said. “Everybody said we couldn’t do it, but we did it. We were always ready.”
Like Poston, Steve Roeming noted that the Brownwood contest actually means more to him as a father now than it did to him when he was playing. He also has another son, Dillon Roeming, who was a senior reserve defensive end on Stephenville’s 2012 state championship team.
“I get more enjoyment watching my son than I did when I was playing. It’s something he’ll remember the rest of his life. It’s something I’ll remember the rest of my life,” Steve said, looking ahead to Friday’s game in Brownwood.
GERRIT SCHOUTEN AND SON TYLER SCHOUTEN
SHS junior Tyler Schouten began the 2017 season as the starting quarterback for the Yellow Jackets, with senior two-year starter Easton Jones sidelined by an offseason elbow injury.
Schouten was battling for the starting spot with sophomore Cole Stanley. Now Jones has recovered and returned to the starting position, but not before Schouten threw for 161 yards and one touchdown for the Jackets, completing 13 of 21 passes. Coincidentally, Schouten is now temporarily out of action with an arm injury.
His dad, Gerrit, played on the SHS varsity football team in 1996, also with Briles as his coach. He was the team’s place-kicker on field goals and extra points as well as kickoffs.
Even though the trend in the head-to-head battles against Brownwood had shifted to Stephenville’s favor by the time he was playing, Gerrit Schouten said that the Lions were still “very competitive.”
“I moved here in 1993, but I quickly figured out the significance of that game,” Gerrit said. “It was huge.”
In the 1996 matchup with Brownwood, the Jackets came up on the short end of a 42-39 decision in triple overtime.
“We should have never gotten there,” Schouten recalled. “There was a bad snap on an extra point, and I missed a 35-yard field goal.”
Schouten noted that he felt Briles’ presence before that kick, when he was running onto the field and his coach hollered at him, “Don’t miss it.”
But that’s what rivalries are all about.