Jackets excited as Blue/Gold Scrimmage arrives

Staff Writer
Stephenville Empire-Tribune
The Stephenville High School Yellow Jackets work on a running play during Thursday's practice session.

As the countdown to the 2020 football season continues, the excitement level is ramping up accordingly.

Stephenville High School head coach Sterling Doty’s Yellow Jackets will close out their second week of preseason practice today (Saturday, Aug. 15) with their annual Blue/Gray Scrimmage at the high school practice field (10 a.m.).

The regular-season opener is set for Friday, Aug. 28, at Sweetwater (7:30 p.m. kickoff). Stephenville’s 10-game schedule includes five games in District 5-4A Division I play. After an open week, the Jackets will face their toughest district test on Oct. 9 when they play top-ranked Waco La Vega, at home in Tarleton’s Memorial Stadium (7:30 p.m.).

“We have had a good week so far,” Doty stated after Thursday’s energetic practice. “Leaders are stepping up, we are playing fast on the practice field and in the weight room so we can feel good about where we are.

“We certainly (have) a lot of work to be done before we reach our goals but to be 10 workouts in, we are excited about our ’20 football teams. Our younger players on our sub-varsities have been doing a phenomenal job in their daily push to be great.”

Doty encouraged SHS fans to come out and see the Yellow Jackets in action this Saturday for the Blue/Gold scrimmage.

“We are looking forward to having the community our Saturday to our annual Blue and Gold Scrimmage at the (high school) track practice field,” Doty said.

The only scrimmage this year against another team will be Thursday, Aug. 20 at Memorial Stadium, versus Class 4A Division I Glen Rose. The scrimmage is expected to begin at 7 p.m.

Glen Rose is the favorite to be the champion of District 5-4A Division I. The Tigers of head coach Cliff Watkins have 12 lettermen returning from last year’s 7-6 squad that reached the third round of the playoffs.

Dave Campbell’s Texas Football magazine picked the Jackets as the state’s 11th-best Class 4A Division I football team in its preseason rankings, and the No. 2 pick in District 5-4A Division I. Waco La Vega, a state finalist last year in Class 4A Division I, is picked not only as the favorite to win Stephenville’s District 5-4A Division I alignment, but was also the magazine’s pick as the No. 1 team in the state entering this season.

The Yellow Jackets were 6-5 last season, and took third place in their district at 2-2 before reaching the second (area) round of postseason play in what was Doty’s first season as the Yellow Jackets’ head coach.

Among the 20 lettermen returning this season, the Jackets have six starters back on offense as well as on defense.

At quarterback — a position always of great interest among fans — there were no incumbents waiting to step into the void left with the graduation of starter Kade Renfro, who is heading to the NCAA Division I level, Ole Miss, to play football. Doty said that three players are working out at quarterback for the Jackets this preseason. They are senior Gavin Rountree, junior Coy Eakin and sophomore Ryder Lambert. Rountree and Eakin are returning varsity lettermen, but played other positions last season.

Stephenville High School football players work on their blocking skills under the direction of head coach Sterling Doty during Thursday's practice.