STEPHENVILLE-Flashes of brilliance were shown on both sides of the ball by the Stephenville Yellow Jackets here Friday, in their only scrimmage before this week’s season opener.
On their first posession, the first-team Jacket offense strolled down the field, covering 70 yards in nine plays.
Brad Mills finished the drive with an 11 yard sprint across the goalline. Mills carried the ball four times on the drive, tallying 18 yards.
Quarterback Kody Spano, who played in only two whole series and part of a third, was 3-3 passing for 41 yards in the opening scoring drive. He completed eight of 10 passes on the night, covering 90 yards. One of the incompletions came on a dropped pass.
The Jacket defense had a slow start, giving up a 70-yard scoring drive in six plays against Weatherford’s first team offense.
The drive featured a 30-yard scoring pass that was set up by a sweep to the right sideline that covered 23 yards. Weatherford built their offensive game plan around a sound option attack that Morris knew would be tough to adjust to.
“I knew they would break some on us,” Morris said. “We only had three days to prepare, and against the option, you have to play assignment football.”
The defense waited until later in the battle for its time to shine.
During the second session for Weatherford’s first-team offense, the Stephenville “War Dogs” were officially unleashed, holding the Kangaroos to only 17 yards on 10 plays. The Jackets forced the Roos to start over from their own 30 three times in the series with quick three and outs.
Like Spano, Cody Davis, the anchor of the Yellow Jacket defense, played sparingly in the scrimmage—something Morris said was certainly by design.
Stephenville junior varsity QB Brad Picha saw plenty of action in the varsity battle. Morris says Picha would start for most teams, but since Spano is back as the field general, he will stay with the JV squad, where he can take plenty of snaps stay sharp throughout the year.
“I tell Brad he’s a varsity football player playing JV football,” Morris said.
Picha backed up that statement with impressive play at the varsity level Friday. On the final play of the pre-season battle, he sailed a 39-yard touchdown pass to senior receiver Chris Malone. It was part of a 7-8 passing performance by Picha for 117 yards and two touchdowns.
The first scoring pass by Picha covered 13 yards, and was caught by Josh Graves in the middle of a crowd in the back of the end zone.
Malone and Graves posted impressive numbers for the Jackets, combining to catch 10 passes for 157 yards. Malone had six receptions for 98 yards, while Graves had four for 59.
Mills finished as the leading rusher for Stephenville, tallying 32 yards on eight carries. He also caught three passes for 32 yards, giving him a total of 64 yards on 12 touches.
Hayden Whiteley added to the rushing attack, gaining 30 yards on six carries.
Morris said the thing that pleased him most was getting out of the scrimmage in good health.
“We’re healthy, and that’s the most important thing,” he said.
“Now we just want to focus on getting a little bit better each week, he concluded. “We want to be a better team after Thursday (when SHS faces Waco Midway in the opener) than we are now.”