One of the most notable factors to Stephenville High School head coach Sterling Doty after the team’s first practice Monday had to do with the mental aspect of the game.

“Our retention from the spring,” said Doty, a 2001 SHS graduate who was hired as the Yellow Jackets’ head coach in February. “We were really able to come out and practice at a high level. There was not a lot of teaching. It was pretty seamless. I love to see that. It allows you to put more concepts on, and allows you to continue to install.”

Doty said that approximately 85 student-athletes from 10th, 11th and 12th grades were on hand for the first day. He said he expected about 65 freshmen.

This is the first year for Doty to coach the Yellow Jackets. He had been a member of the SHS state championship teams under former head coach Art Briles in 1998 and 1999.

The past four years, Doty was the head coach at Class 5A Division I Magnolia High School in the Houston area.

One of the other major sights that pleased Doty on Monday was seeing the magnitude of the fan involvement at the practice — and seeing many of them on hand by 6:45 a.m., ahead of the scheduled 7 a.m. scheduled start.

In keeping with the local tradition of Jacket backers, the notable noise makers (shakable metal cans containing steel balls) came out in force even though the first game of the regular season won’t come around until Aug. 30 (home versus Argyle).

“It was awesome this morning,” Doty said. “The community support was tremendous.”

The Jackets are scheduled to work out from 7 a.m. to about 9:45 a.m. through Wednesday, followed by video, weightlifting and walk-through sessions from 3:30-5:30 p.m.

Thursday and Friday of this week the Jackets practice will heat up considerably — when it moves to 4-7 p.m. The video and weightlifting will be in the morning on those days.

The first day the players can wear pads will be Saturday, Aug. 10. After their individual and team photos are taken, the annual Blue-Gold Scrimmage will be held at the SHS practice field, set for a 10 a.m. start.

The workout and practice times will change for week 2 and week 3.

The first scrimmage is scheduled for Friday, Aug. 16, at Glen Rose. The second scrimmage will be at home, against Granbury.