The sights and sounds of Stephenville Yellow Jacket football were on display Friday night at Memorial Stadium, as the 2007 Spring Jamboree gave fans a preview of the much-anticipated fall season.
On the field, the varsity offense, clad in white, went head-up against their counterparts on defense. In the stands, the Stingerettes sang marching band favorites like “Hey Baby” a cappella, while the martial patterns of a drumline rehearsing their cadences echoed into the stadium from the parking lot.
The scrimmages, which began with the sub-varsity players at 5:30, brought a successful spring to a close.
“I thought we had a good spring,” Yellow Jackets head coach Chad Morris said. “I’m proud of our coaches. I’m proud of our kids.”
While taking note of the controlled nature of the scrimmage — varsity quarterbacks Kody Spano and Brad Picha wore red jerseys and were off-limits to the defense — Morris said he was happy with the intensity of the scrimmage.
“I’m pleased with the way it ended,” he said. “I want this momentum to carry over into the summer.”
The spring workouts will force the team to sacrifice a week of two-a-days at the end of summer, so it is crucial that players report back in playing shape, Morris said.
Morris was particularly pleased with the play of Wayne Viotto and Josh Emmons up front on defense, along with Seth Reding, Colton Diffie and Cody Davis.
On offense, Morris said both quarterbacks threw well, while receiver Josh Graves and backs Trey Taylor and Brad Mills also stood out.
Heading into the spring practices, Morris stressed the need for the Yellow Jackets to be able to play physical, run-heavy football. On Friday, the offensive line of Dewayne Phillips, Danny Moss, Tom Dodson, Josh Grantham and Brawnson Oliver looked bigger and stronger than they were during the fall — an excellent sign for Stephenville fans.
The varsity scrimmage began with a fourth-down session in the redzone. The offense was given one chance to score from the 3, 6, 12 and 15-yard lines, and the drill was repeated three times. The offense was successful on one-third of their attempts.
A 7-on-7-style drill followed, with the receivers working on routes and timing. It was highlighted by a touchdown toss from Picha to Hayden Whiteley on an out route, an interception by Travis Haschke and a touchdown catch over the middle by Graves.
A series pitting the varsity’s second teams followed. Running back Colby Lozano broke loose for a touchdown sprint down the sideline on the very first play.
Colt Barkley later picked off a pass that first caromed off a teammate’s shoulder pads. Whiteley had a long run through the middle of the defense, and Picha hit Chris Shelton on a short slant for a touchdown to end that segment of the scrimmage.
The first-team offense began their scrimmage with a lengthy drive, but the defense held strong to stuff Taylor at the goalline. The first series was marked by a pass from Spano to Mills that went for more than 20 yards.
Haschke ended the second drive with another interception, after facemask and pass interference penalties aided the offense.
While the offense had trouble finishing off their drives, they did move the ball well. A reverse to Chris Malone went for 16 yards, and Mills and Taylor both showed the speed that made them threats last season.
The Yellow Jackets open their season in the HEB Kickoff Classic Aug. 30 versus Waco Midway.