Stephenville's 7 on 7 football squad is heading for the state tournament once again this year, after play last Saturday at a state qualifying tournament (SQT) in Brownwood.
Clark Giddings, who has coached Stephenville’s varsity 7 on 7 each summer for the past six years, said that the team — mostly non-starters — was scheduled to be in Tuscola on Friday, June 14, for the final Division II SQT to get some of the younger players more experience.
On Tuesday during league play at Tiger Stadium in Glen Rose, Stephenville defeated Glen Rose in their first matchup of the evening, but Burleson rallied to outscore the Yellow Jackets in the second contest. That league includes those three teams, along with Granbury.
League play will continue this coming Tuesday starting at 6:30 p.m., again at Glen Rose.
With a win over Lampasas last Saturday, the Stephenville team qualified for the 7 on 7 Division II state tournament June 27-29 in College Station. Division II includes Class 4A Division I and II schools, plus Class 3A Division I.
Giddings noted that with heavy graduation losses along with the new offensive and defensive schemes being installed by Stephenville’s new head varsity coach Sterling Doty, the learning curve is relatively steep this season. But, he added, the players are picking up their new assignments quite well.
There are approximately 20 players involved with Stephenville’s varsity 7 on 7 team, in addition to those participating in the junior varsity and freshman divisions in league play.
Earlier in the 7 on 7 season, Stephenville had competed in SQTs that were held in Brock and Springtown.
The Yellow Jackets, along with District 5-4A foes Brownwood and Waco La Vega — the 2018 Class 4A Division I state champion — will be among the 26 teams competing in the 7 on 7 Division II bracket. The Division I bracket features Class 5A and 6A schools, while Division III is for Class 3A Division II and below. The 19-team Division III field includes Dublin, a member of District 6-3A, Division II.
In Dave Campbell’s Texas Football Class 4A Division I preseason top 10 published online, La Vega is projected as the top-ranked team in the state. The rest of Dave Campbell’s 4A preseason Division I top 10 is Carthage at No. 2, followed by Argyle, Liberty Hill, Midlothian Heritage, Sealy, Paris, Henderson, Lampasas and Decatur.
Doty will be leading the Yellow Jackets through another tough schedule in 2019 — featuring three of those preseason top 10 teams. They will open the season on Aug. 20 at home against that always-stout Argyle team, and they will take on Heritage on the road Sept. 20. Their district showdown against La Vega will be Oct. 18 at home.
A year ago, Stephenville was picked by Dave Campbell’s Texas Football as the No. 3 4A Division I preseason rankings, when the Yellow Jackets were coming off a 2017 season in which they reached the state semifinals. They were also picked as the preseason district favorite over La Vega, which went 14-2 and defeated Liberty Hill, 35-21, for the 4A Division I state championship last December.