ALEDO — Three more games became three more wins Saturday as Stephenville’s unbeaten march to the state 7-on-7 tournament continued.
The Yellow Jackets have won all 19 of their games this summer, with just one more round of league games this week before heading to College Station for state July 13-14.
“They’re just stepping up,” coach Dan Malone said.
“They want to win — they’re winners.”
And Malone is convinced that this year’s group fully believes they can close out their perfect summer as state champs.
Games begin at 6 p.m. Monday at Stephenville High School, starting with the freshman team.
Malone has been surprised that the team “(hasn’t) been challenged much,” as reflected by their normally lopsided scores.
Last year’s team, which advanced to the quarterfinals of the state tournament, was just as good as this year’s bunch — but had a rougher time of it.
“The kids are just really playing good together,” Malone said.
Saturday’s tournament was originally scheduled to be played in Granbury early this month, but was postponed and moved to Aledo due to rain.
The Yellow Jackets opened pool play against the rival Bearcats, and won in dramatic fashion, 30-26. Brad Mills sealed the win on the game’s final play by going up in a crowd to pull down Kody Spano’s touchdown pass — recalling the Hunter Hendershot grab that capped last season’s district thriller.
Aledo failed to qualify for the state tournament after losing to Tyler Lee as well.
Stephenville then blew past Arlington Martin, 26-7. The Yellow Jackets simply “outclassed” their rivals, making the right plays at the right times, Malone said.
“We just had better people than they did,” he said.
The team ended the day with a 31-19 win at the expense of Tyler Lee.
Teamwork, along with the great coaching the team has received throughout the year from head coach Chad Morris and his staff, has keyed the group’s success, Malone said.
“They’re a unit, too. They all get along,” he said. Plus, “they work hard on their own.”
He said receivers Josh Graves, Dakota Mathis and Chris Malone have all come on strong this summer. That trio, along with Brad Mills and Trey Taylor out of the backfield, is sure to challenge opposing defenses.
“You can’t cover all of them at one time,” Malone said, as any of those players can make a great catch at any time.
“It’s a combination of teamwork.”