With District 8-4A's top small-school seed at stake - not to mention an outside shot at a share of the district title - there is plenty of playoff implications on the line as Stephenville and the rest of the league prepare for tonight's regular-season finales.
Stephenville (4-5, 3-1) hosts Waco (4-5, 2-2) at 7:30 p.m. at Tarleton Memorial Stadium, and head Yellow Jacket Joseph Gillespie doesn't even want to discuss the formula for being the district's top small-school seed with a loss.
"You can sit there and go through all sort of scenarios and things of that nature," Gillespie said. "There are a couple of different scenarios to end up as the one-seed or the two-seed (entering the 4A Division II bracket). The bottom line is, go secure it."
Both Stephenville and Waco are already assured of advancing to the Division II playoffs, while Midway and Killeen, who battle tonight at Leo Buckley Stadium, are guaranteed spots in the 4A Division I field.
Waco University and San Angelo Lake View, who meet in the other district finale tonight, have long been eliminated.
The top Division II team from 8-4A plays Crowley in the first round, and with a win would likely meet either Springtown, White Settlement Brewer or A Fort Worth ISD school in round two.
The second D2 seed opens with Everman. Survive that, and a likely second-round battle against undefeated, top-ranked, defending champ Aledo lies ahead.
"Regardless who you play, you have to be ready in the playoffs because everyone's pretty good at that point," Gillespie said. "But if you gave me the choice right now, I'd rather go in as the 1-seed."
Waco surely feels the same way, and Gillespie is expecting a tough fight from the Lions.
"I think it's one of those deals where it kind of depends on who shows up," Gillespie said of Waco. "We're expecting them to show up with a lot of confidence. Like us, they've already secured a spot in the playoffs, and everyone wants to enter the playoffs with momentum."
The Waco team that showed up against Killeen early in the district race certainly proved dangerous. The Lions appeared ready to hand the Kangaroos their first loss, leading 30-20 with less than two minutes remaining. Killeen needed a TD an onside kick and another score in the closing seconds to survive.
Stephenville ended the Roos' hopes of an undefeated regular season the following week.
Waco had to come from behind against University last week, scoring the final 13 points to win 36-27.
Gillespie says his main focus tonight will be on his team putting a full 48 minutes together. They were close last week, playing solid for most of the final 43 minutes after unbeaten and eighth-ranked Waco Midway built a 14-0 lead in the opening five minutes. Stephenville tied the score twice in the second half but fell 35-28.
"We have to put it all together," Gillespie said. "We can't put 42-43-44 minutes together, we have to put all 48 together. We're close to doing that and we're gelling at the right time.
"The kids have faith and believe in what we're doing," he continued. "We certainly still have the opportunity to do something special."