The Stephenville Yellow Jackets are the No. 2 Class 4A team in the state heading into the 2007 season, according to Dave Campbell’s Texas Football Magazine.

The Yellow Jackets trail only state runner-up Copperas Cove in the State Farm/Texas Football poll. They’re No. 9 in the accompanying coaches’ poll, with one first-place vote.

The venerable annual, now in its 48th year, hits newsstands this week, and is sure to fuel debates in coffee shops and on message boards alike.

According to the guide, “coach (Chad) Morris feels the 2007 Yellow Jackets could be even better than last year’s squad that lost only twice.”

Two key returning starters, Big 12-commits quarterback Kody Spano (Oklahoma State) and safety Cody Davis (Texas Tech), also made Reebok’s Super Team. Spano was included on the third-team offense, while Davis made the third-team defense.

Spano heads up a core of nine returning starters on offense, while Davis leads a defensive unit with five starters back.

As the guide notes, Stephenville’s entire offensive line returns, bringing experience to an area that was a lingering concern last season.

Spano is Class 4A’s leading returning passer, coming off of a 2,877-yard, 31-touchdown campaign, his first as a full-time varsity starter.

The magazine also tabs running backs Brad Mills and Trey Taylor and wide receiver Chris Malone as players to watch, and pegs defensive lineman T.R. Varnado as the team’s top sophomore.

The magazine picks the Yellow Jackets to win District 8-4A, edging out familiar foes Aledo and Everman. However, the same poll that ranks Stephenville second-best in state also places two scheduled Yellow Jackets opponents in the top 10 — No. 5 Wichita Falls Rider and No. 10 Aledo.

The Bearcats are also tenth in the coaches’ poll, with four first-place votes. The Raiders are not included in the listing.