Stephenville, Brownwood chasing Waco La Vega in District 5-4A Division I

Jordan Hofeditz
Abilene Reporter-News

Last year, Midlothian Heritage climbed to the top of the District 5-4A Division I standings but expect Waco La Vega to come back strong this season to reclaim the crown.

La Vega has rebuilding to do, but has plenty of talent to work with. Meanwhile, Heritage will be a young squad and possibly open to being upended as defending champions.

That will leave Stephenville and Brownwood fighting for their spot in the district standings after finishing third and fourth, respectively, last year. Both teams should come back stronger, but it might not be enough to overcome the last two district champs.

Stephenville's weapon comes in the form of Coy Eakin, who is an option under center as one of eight offensive starters back. There are skill players to replace, but the offensive line should be a strength on that side of the ball. If Eakin and others can get going, it would go a long way to the Jackets moving up the ranks.

Brownwood receiver Jason Jackson (18) goes up to make a catch during Friday’s game against Wylie last season. Jackson is one of the top returning players for the Lions in 2021.

For the Lions, it will be the juniors leading the way in 2021. Jason Jackson is back at receiver to lead the offense along with Case Markham, who could fill multiple roles. Defensively, Brownwood is led by Jordan Leach at free safety. The Lions will be small on defense, but athletic.

A year ago, Brownwood sneaked into the postseason; expect their spot to be solidified this time around.

Both Big Country teams will be trying to hold off Waxahachie Life and Alvarado from taking one of the playoff spots. Neither brings back much experience, but enough to possibly surprise some people if they don't come ready to play.

• District 5-4A Division I

1. Waco La Vega

2. Midlothian Heritage

3. Stephenville

4. Brownwood

5. Waxahachie Life

6. Alvarado

Stephenville helmet

Stephenville Yellow Jackets

District: 5-4A Division I

Head coach: Sterling Doty (12-11 in two seasons at Stephenville, 45-32 overall)

Last year's record: 6-6, 3-2 district

Last district title/playoff appearance: 2017/2020

Returning lettermen: 26

Returning off./def. starters: 8/5

Players to watch: Reese Young, LB, 6-1, 225; Logan Davis, OL, 6-5, 320; Coy Eakin, ATH, 6-3, 190; Gavyn Sharp, OL/DL, 6-3, 325; Ryder Lambert, ATH, 6-1, 185; Mason Butchee, OL, 6-0, 285; Payton Poston, WR/DB, 6-1, 175; Jackson Barkley, TE/DE, 6-3, 200; Creece Brister, OL, 6-5, 255.

2021 schedule

Date Opponent

• Aug. 27 Sweetwater, 7:30 p.m.

• Sept. 3 at Everman, 7 p.m.

• Sept. 10 Salado, 7:30 p.m.

• Sept. 17 Wylie, 7:30 p.m.

• Sept. 24 at Waco Connally, 7:30 p.m.

• Oct. 8 at Waco La Vega,* 7:30 p.m.

• Oct. 15 Alvarado,* 7:30 p.m.

• Oct. 22 at Waxahachie Life,* 7:30 p.m.

• Oct. 29 at Midlothian Heritage,* 7:30 p.m.

• Nov. 5 Brownwood,* 7:30 p.m.

2020 results

Opponent Result

• Sweetwater W, 58-32

• Lampasas L, 41-0

• Salado L, 61-45

• Melissa L, 65-58

• Dumas W, 46-33

• Brownwood* W, 59-34

• Waco La Vega* L, 42-24

• Alvarado* W, 56-21

• Waxahachie Life* W, 49-13

• Midlothian Heritage* L, 42-27

• Fort Worth Benbrook W, 56-14

• Argyle L, 56-27

Brownwood helmet

Brownwood Lions

District: 5-4A Division I

Head coach: Sammy Burnett (19-14 in three seasons at Brownwood, 77-46 overall)

Last year's record: 4-6, 2-2 district

Last district title/playoff appearance: 2010/2020

Returning lettermen: 16

Returning off./def. starters: 4/6

Players to watch: Ethan Pesina, OL, 5-7. 235; Jason Jackson, WR, 6-2, 165; Jordan Leach, FS, 6-1, 175; Chance Jones, QB/LB, 5-10, 170; Taylor Bessent, TE/SS, 6-3, 185; Jeremy Still, OL, 6-3, 275; Damian Sanchez, OL, 6-1, 280; Case Markham, ATH, 5-1, 150; Jaylen Brown, LB, 5-11, 195.

2021 schedule

Date Opponent

• Aug. 27 Lampasas, 7:30 p.m.

• Sept. 3 at Midland Greenwood, 7 p.m.

• Sept. 10 at China Spring, 7:30 p.m.

• Sept. 17 Burnet, 7:30 p.m.

• Sept. 24 at Wylie, 7:30 p.m.

• Oct. 8 Midlothian Heritage,* 7:30 p.m.

• Oct. 15 Waco La Vega,* 7:30 p.m.

• Oct. 22 at Alvarado,* 7:30 p.m.

• Oct. 29 Waxahachie Life,* 7:30 p.m.

• Nov. 5 at Stephenville,* 7:30 p.m.

* District game

2020 results

Opponent Result

• Lampasas L, 55-23

• Midland Greenwood W, 35-15

• China Spring L, 35-14

• Burnet W, 36-22

• Wylie L, 28-7

• Stephenville* L, 59-34

• Alvarado* W, 47-14

• Waxahachie Life* W, 48-14

• Waco La Vega* L, 62-6

• Midlothian Heritage* Canceled

• Kennedale L, 44-7

Jordan Hofeditz covers Abilene high schools and colleges, Big Country schools and other local sports. Follow him on Twitter at @jhofeditz. If you appreciate locally driven news, you can support local journalists with a digital subscription to ReporterNews.com.