Stephenville High School’s annual Blue/Gold intrasquad football scrimmage will be this morning at the high school practice field, capping the first week of practice for the 2018 season.

Coach Greg Winder’s Yellow Jackets, the preseason favorite to win the District 5-4A Division I title according to Dave Campbell's Texas Football magazine, got through the first five days of practice with no notable injuries.

“We’re just kind of sore and tired,” Winder said, noting that’s the normal state of existence for players during the first few days of on-field practice. “We go pretty long with the weights, and so they’re getting back in it.”

The Jackets had one major change a year ago, when Cody Moore became the defensive coordinator and switched the team to a 4-2-5 defense. The Jackets responded well, reaching the state semifinal round of the playoffs and finishing with a 12-3 record. The expectations from that sterling campaign and the number of returning starters led to the Jackets being picked in the magazine's preseason rankings as the No. 3 Class 4A Division I squad in the state. 

There are no such major changes in the works this season on either offense or defense, Winder said, but some minor ‘tweaks’ can usually be expected going into each season.

“Probably, personnel looks, trying to move your personnel around and — I’m speaking offensively — trying to get your playmakers in space to make plays,” Winder explained. “In the offseason you go visit different schools and colleges and try to just pick something really that would help you — nothing major.

“As a coaching staff, you always worry about if you’re trying to implement something new, are they going to catch on and all of that. But the kids have really responded well to some different terminology offensively and defensively, a few little wrinkles here and there. They normally do. Like I said, as coaches we worry about that, but they’re good.”

Having added shoulder pads to their daily practice gear on Wednesday, the Jackets and the rest of the public school football teams all around the state start using full pads today — per UIL rules.

This morning at 8, the SHS freshman squad will have its intrasquad scrimmage at the high school’s practice field. The varsity (along with junior varsity in the mix) will start its Blue-Gold scrimmage starting at about 9:30 a.m.

After an Aug. 17 first scrimmage at home (at Tarleton’s Memorial Stadium) against Glen Rose, the Yellow Jackets will scrimmage at Tiger Stadium in Granbury on Aug. 24.

The regular-season opener, against highly-rated Argyle, will be Aug. 31 on the road (7 p.m.).