By BRAD KEITH
STEPHENVILLE (October 11, 2016) — Jase Schumacher is looking to bring semipro football to Stephenville.
Schumacher plans to move his team, the Lampasas Lightning, to Stephenville, and re-name them the Erath County Coyotes. They are also planning to change leagues, exiting the Texas League of American Football in favor of the Texas United Football League that has 28 teams including the Eastland County Cobras and several in the Dallas-Fort Worth region.
“We have an existing team that won the 2016 championship (in the Texas League of American Football), and I talked to the head coach there and told him I think we could move the team to Stephenville where we have more athletes interested in being on a team, but they don’t want to drive an hour-and-a-half to Lampasas,” said Schumacher. “I did some scouting here with some potential personnel and businesses to gauge their reaction and interest level in bringing a semi-pro team to Stephenville. None of them have given me a 100 percent affirmative answer they would support the team, but most of them have given me at least a 50 percent acknowledgement that they will.”
Getting players to show interest hasn’t been a problem. Schumacher says six players from the team in Lampasas will continue to play in Stephenville, and that more than 56 have registered to try out. The team is holding tryouts at 5:30 p.m. Sunday at the Stephenville High School practice field.
“We’ll have athletes coming from Granbury, Glen Rose, Hico, Stephenville, Dublin and even one from Comanche,” said Schumacher, who noted several Tarleton students – not current or former Texan football players – have shown interest. “Anyone ages 18 and up can try out. Some of the guys are workers, and some are football players looking to further their careers after not having the chance to go on to college or anything like that.”
The team is allowed a 53-man active roster, with the extended roster limited to 60 total athletes. Schumacher is working through a number of options for a home stadium, and says the team’s schedule will come out in late December or in January. Practices begin in February and games in March. The championship is in July.
“We’ll schedule teams that are close to keep travel within two-and-a-half to three hours,” said Schumacher. “We want our home games to be big events and we want to give back to the community and to kids. We’d love to let youth organizations come out and run our concession stand and keep all the proceeds. We want to be involved in the community and get them involved with our team.”
The Lightning, coached by Kevin Mickey, hosted last year’s Texas League of American Football championship, coming from behind to defeat the Austin Bison, 22-21.
“We’re looking for a fresh start somewhere we believe we can have the player and community interest to support our team for a long time,” said Schumacher. “And we believe we can win a championship again next year.”
More information: Interested players can simply show up, as registration will be held on site. For more information, contact Jase Schumacher at 254.459.1403.