The Stephenville Yellow Jackets once again have the challenge of taking on one of the best high school football programs in the state when they open the 2019 regular-season on Friday.
The Jackets will take on third-ranked Argyle at Tarleton State University’s Memorial Stadium with a 7 p.m. kickoff.
Under head coach Todd Rodgers, Argyle’s Eagles have consistently been one of the winningest teams in the state. The Eagles have won 90 percent of their games over the past 10 seasons, including the playoffs.
“(They are) just a very talented team that’s returning a good number of starters (10 of 22),” said Yellow Jackets head coach Sterling Doty. “Coach Rodgers and his staff do a great job. They are a traditional power, and they have won a state championship before (2013). They are a top-notch opponent to open up the season."
Outside observers have already taken note of the high-profile matchup. Doty said that a Fox Sports Southwest crew will be in town for the Argyle-Stephenville contest, broadcasting live look-ins on the air. Reporter Erin Hartigan will be fronting the crew, and Dave Campbell’s Texas Football Insider Matt Stepp will be on hand to report on the action.
Doty encouraged Stephenville fans to come out in force for the season opener, and to bring their traditional noise-making cans.
“We need all of the Yellow Jacket fans at the new stadium,” Doty said.
In their second and final scrimmage, Friday night at Memorial Stadium, the Jackets outscored the Class 5A Granbury Pirates 2-1 overall. SHS receiver Gavin Rountree caught two touchdown passes — one from Kade Renfro and one from Cole Stanley — in the controlled scrimmage.. Granbury scored its only TD in the live, timed quarter.
Doty said on Monday that the starting quarterback for the Yellow Jackets will be Renfro, with Stanley as the No. 1 backup at that position. This is the third season for both of them on varsity.
12 things to know about the Argyle Eagles
1. Argyle High School, which is in Denton County, has an enrollment of 854. Stephenville High School’s enrollment is listed at 1,079.
2. During the 10-year period from 2009 through 2018, the Argyle football team posted an overall record of 132 wins and only 12 losses under head coach Todd Rodgers. SHS has had a record of 88-41 during that same span.
3. Argyle has lost only one game in five of the last six seasons.
4. Argyle’s remarkable streak includes a 16-0 mark in 2013, when the Eagles won the Class 3A Division II state championship.
5. The Eagles were No. 3 in 4A Division I in Dave Campbell’s Texas Football magazine’s preseason rankings. Stephenville was ranked No. 20 in the magazine.
6. The Eagles’ playoff run last season ended with a 31-14 loss in the Region II final to Waco La Vega, which was the champion of Stephenville’s District 5-4A alignment.
7. The Yellow Jackets were outscored by Argyle, 45-35, when they met in the first game of the 2018 season. Stephenville defeated Argyle in the 2018 regular season, 31-28, on the way to a 12-3 record and a berth in the state semifinals before being eliminated.
8. Argyle had defeated La Vega, 31-29, when they met in the second week of the season.
9. Argyle is in an extremely tough District 7-4A alignment, along with seventh-ranked Paris, 14th-ranked Celina and 22nd-ranked Melissa.
10. Last season Argyle had three players who were all-state — first-team offensive lineman Preston Wilson, who committed to play at Oklahoma State, along with second-team all-state performers Chase Petter at linebacker and defensive back Brenden Dixon.
11. This season the Eagles featured five offensive and five defensive starters back from their 2018 squad that finished 13-1. There are 34 lettermen returning.
12. Among this year’s top performers are expected to be quarterback Bo Hogeboom (3,366 yards passing with 44 TDs last year) and running back Tito Byce (1,520 yards and 26 TDs rushing).