A swarm of dangerous Yellow Jackets was spotted in Stephenville Monday, causing concern among class 4A football programs throughout the state of Texas. That’s right, perennial power Stephenville is back on the gridiron.

Just over 180 student-athletes reported for the beginning of pre-season workouts, which continue every day this week, beginning at 7 a.m.

With less than three weeks remaining before the Sept. 1 season-opener against Waco Midway, there was no time for the typical “back to the basics” approach many teams take into their first practices. Position coaches are already preparing the Jackets for the formations and plays they expect to see from their first opponent. This fell in place with Morris’ statement that the Jackets were not beginning practice, they were resuming it.

“We’re ahead of where we were this time last year,” Morris said, attributing the team’s head start to a successful run of spring practices and summer workouts.

“The kids showed up in pretty good shape, and of course the heat helps to get them in shape,” he said. “It’s flat hot out there, but it’s hot for every other team in Texas, too.”

“I think today went really well,” he reported at the conclusion of Monday’s workouts. “It’s a slow process. We tell the kids it’s a marathon, not a sprint. The team that endures comes out best in the end. Our kids are unique in the fact that they work so hard and do whatever we ask of them. There’s a lot of excitement in these kids. They have the chance to be a very good football team.”

Practice ran late into the afternoon Monday, due mostly to the time required for equipment handout before morning workouts could begin. Morris says practices will end much earlier the rest of the week.

Some fans elected to get an early look at the squad, enduring the heat while gathering in small groups to watch the action. The Jackets’ first official public appearance is set for Saturday, when the annual Blue vs. Gold scrimmage takes place at the SHS practice fields.

Morris said the freshmen will begin at 8 a.m., with the JV and varsity to follow. Team and individual photos will also be taken during this time.