During the first week of preseason football practice for the Stephenville High School Yellow Jackets, head coach Sterling Doty noticed that his players were hungry to get started.


The Jackets had their first practices, in helmets and shorts, Monday and Tuesday. They added shoulder pads on Wednesday, and now can practice in full pads as they head into their second week.


"We have had a great start to Fall Camp," Doty stated. "Our kids and staff are really getting after it right now. I see a hungry, motivated football team that is off and running.


"We have to keep that motivation and bring it with us every day. Everyone in the state is 0-0 and our goals will be obtained by our commitment to excellence that day. So we are going to focus on that, bringing energy and getting better every step of the way."


Doty has six offensive and six defensive starters returning from the 2019 squad that was 6-5 and reached the second round of the playoffs. The Jackets were 2-2 in last year’s final district standings. Their new six-school district football alignment features Alvarado, Waxahachie Life School and Midlothian Heritage, in addition to La Vega and traditional rival Brownwood.


The Yellow Jackets’ annual intersquad Blue/Gold scrimmage is set for 10 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 15, at the high school practice field.


One of the preseason scrimmages had to be canceled, but the Jackets will scrimmage Glen Rose at Tarleton’s Memorial Stadium at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 20.


Stephenville’s varsity regular-season opener will be Friday, Aug. 28, at Sweetwater (7:30 p.m.). That will be followed by a home game Sept. 4 against Lampasas; road games Sept. 11 at Salado and Sept. 18 at Melissa; and the final non-district game, against Dumas Sept. 24, at Cooper High School in Lubbock.


After the Jackets’ open week, their District 5-4A Division I opener is set for Oct. 9, at home against 2019 state runner-up Waco La Vega. The rest of the district slate will be Oct. 16 at Alvarado; Oct. 23 at home against Waxahachie Life School; Oct. 30 at home against Midlothian Heritage; and Nov. 6 at Brownwood.


Dave Campbell’s Texas Football magazine has Stephenville ranked as the No. 11 Class 4A Division I team in the state in the preseason. La Vega was ranked No. 1 in the state in the preseason poll, while Heritage was No. 12 and Brownwood was 15th.


Among Stepenville’s non-district opponents, Lampasas was No. 3 in the magazine’s preseason rankings, Dumas was No. 8 and Melissa was 19th.