Jackets confident after season-opening offensive outburst
Stephenville High School’s 58-32 domination of Sweetwater in the Aug. 28 football season opener served notice that head coach Sterling Doty’s Yellow Jackets are a force to be reckoned with in 2020.
“It was just another great night for our offensive efficiency,” Doty said. “Our offensive line did a good job.”
The Yellow Jackets erased an early 7-0 deficit by scoring on each of their first seven possessions. SHS led 37-13 at halftime, and stretched its lead to 31 points, 51-20, by the 7:52 mark in the third quarter.
SHS running back Kason Philips rolled up a game-high 208 yards and three touchdowns on 19 carries for an amazing average of 11 yards per attempt.
Two of the leading receivers on the night for SHS, seniors Trace Morrison and Grayson Traweek, combined for seven catches for 75 yards as the Jackets racked up 535 yards in total offense. Both are now in their third year on the varsity, and Morrison was the team’s second-leading receiver last season with 720 yards.
Being in the eye of the hurricane for such an offensive onslaught in the win at Sweetwater was “an awesome experience” for Trace Morrison as a starting wide receiver.
Morrison said he thinks the squad is “a lot more dynamic” on offense this season.
“I don’t think anybody will be able to stop us,” said the 6-1, 175-pound Morrison, who also starts in the defensive secondary as a rover. “Our offense has been playing together for six years. We have kind of bonded together. It felt good being out there with my buddies.”
As the ground game was dominating the Mustangs, the passing attack flirted with perfection.
Starting quarterback Gavin Rountree passed with laser-like precision, completing 13 of 15 passes for 165 yards and one TD, to Coy Eakin. As the reserve quarterback, Eakin was also highly accurate when he played in the second half, completing 4 of 5 passes for 30 yards.
Doty noted that it’s important for an offense “to have that balance” between the run and the pass.
“We feel like we can establish the run,” Doty said of this year’s offense. “It’s a nice luxury to have receivers that run good routes and catch the ball.”
Traweek, the team’s starter in the slot receiver position, said, “What stands out this year is we’ve got a lot of seniors being leaders on the field. We’re bonding so much better, and we’re all coming together. It was awesome, being back in the Friday night lights. It’s a really good confidence booster for us. We’re really confident in our offense right now.”
Morrison, who earned all-state honors as a punter in 2019, added, “We showed everybody that we are a different team this year. We are a tighter team than last year.”
Morrison also noted that it helps that the Yellow Jackets have a full season under their belts playing in the offensive system Doty installed when he became the head coach prior to the 2019 campaign.
“It helps a lot, being the second year in this offense,” Morrison said. “We’re playing fast and thinking less.”
Friday night (Sept. 4, at Tarleton’s Memorial Stadium), the Yellow Jackets took on highly ranked Lampasas in the second game of the season. The Badgers were No. 3 in one Class 4A Division I state poll and No. 1 in another — but Traweek said those rankings don’t matter to the players.
“We know our schedule is hard, but we don’t care what number is beside the (opponent),” said Traweek, a 6-0, 191-pound slot receiver who also starts on defense, at free safety. “We just go out and play our game.”