Two-a-days - the dreaded two practices per day that mark the return of high school football to schools across Texas.

While most small schools began preseason football workouts last week, the majority of Class 4A and 5A schools - all those that traded one week of fall practice for three weeks of spring ball - reported for work on Monday, including perennial power Stephenville.

Stephenville Head Coach Joseph Gillespie boasts of having 160 student-athletes out for football, a number he believes will grow over the next two weeks.

“Traditionally we pick up 15 or 20 younger kids as we go. We had some issues with physicals and things of that nature, but it’s pretty comparable to last year,” said Gillespie, who led the Jackets to the 4A-Division II state quarterfinals in his first year as head coach and 14th on staff at the school he graduated from in 1990.

Gillespie says he was pleased with his team’s retention.

“We had a few first-day glitches, but offensively and defensively our retention was great and we were mostly able to pick up right where we left off in the spring,” he said.

The Jackets worked out in T-shirts, shorts and helmets, the same attire that will be used for much of the first week. Full pads will be donned on Friday, just in time for Saturday’s annual Blue vs. Gold fall scrimmage. The freshman teams will scrimmage at 8 a.m. Saturday, followed by the sophomore teams at 9 a.m. and the JV and varsity at 10 a.m. All action will be at the SHS practice fields.

The Jackets will see an opponent for the first time when they host 5A Weatherford in scrimmage play on Aug. 21 at Memorial Stadium.