Even though the Stephenville Yellow Jackets have a new head football coach, their schedule won’t be any easier for the 2019 season.
The Jackets will be facing the same nine schools in the same order for both non-district and in District 5-4A. The only difference is that the games that were at home last season will be away in 2019, and vice-versa. For the upcoming season, Stephenville will have five home games and four on the road.
Public schools almost always enter two-year agreements on their non-district football matchups, coinciding with the biennial statewide district realignment conducted by the University Interscholastic League.
“I think it’s one of the toughest schedules in the state — no doubt about it,” SHS head coach Sterling Doty said of the schedule, which includes three Class 5A foes in non-district, plus the defending Class 4A Division I state champion Waco La Vega in district play.
After the two traditional scrimmages, Aug. 16 at Glen Rose and Aug. 23 at home against 5A Granbury, the Jackets will open the regular season with a matchup against Argyle. That will be the start of three regular-season games in a row at home for SHS, continuing with 5A Everman Sept. 6 and 5A Abilene Wylie for Homecoming on Sept. 13.
Midlothian Heritage on Sept. 20 and 5A Georgetown on Sept. 27 will round out the non-district slate.
Following an open date the week of Oct. 4, the Jackets will open district on Oct. 11 at China Spring. The annual SHS Heart of Gold Game will be Oct. 18 against La Vega.
Rival Brownwood will be in town Oct. 25 for SHS Senior Night, and the Jackets will travel to Gatesville Nov. 1 to wrap up their regular-season. Teams without an open date will play on the final weekend of the regular season, the week of Nov. 8.
“It’s something we look forward to attacking on our end,” Doty said of the tough schedule, which was arranged under former head coach Greg Winder. “It is what it is. We want a challenging schedule that’s going to get us ready for district. It’s all about the growth. They really start counting when district starts.”
Doty was named as the new SHS coach in late February, and signed a two-year contract after having been the head coach at 5A Magnolia since 2014.
Winder had guided the Yellow Jackets to the 4A Division I state semifinals in 2017, posting a 12-3 record in his fourth season as head coach.
The Jackets entered last season with high expectations, including a prediction in Dave Campbell’s Texas Football magazine that they would not only win the district title, but also that they were the third-best team in the state. SHS was 3-2 in non-district 3-1 in district, earning the runner-up spot behind La Vega in district. The Jackets won their bi-district battle over Brewer, but fell in the area round of the playoffs to Celina.
Doty is tasked with replacing 30 seniors lost to graduation — a large class with exceptional talent. Last year’s junior varsity team was 5-5.
Doty said the SHS offseason program is “going great” and the players are “working extremely hard,” plus soaking up new offensive and defensive schemes.
“It’s a great time to be a Stephenville Yellow Jacket,” Doty said.
VARSITY FOOTBALL SCHEDULE
Aug. 16 at Glen Rose (scrimmage) Time TBA
Aug. 23 Granbury (scrimmage) Time TBA
Aug. 30 Argyle 7 p.m.
Sept. 6 Everman 7 p.m.
Sept. 13 Abilene Wyllie 7 p.m.
Sept. 20 at Midlothian Heritage 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 27 at Georgetown 7 p.m.
Oct. 11 at China Spring * 7 p.m.
Oct. 18 Waco La Vega * 7 p.m.
Oct. 25 Brownwood* 7 p.m.
Nov. 1 at Gatesville* 7 p.m.
* District 5-4A Division I games