By BRAD KEITH
STEPHENVILLE (August 25, 2017) — Stephenville was not perfect and Granbury was not good.
Not at all.
But the Yellow Jackets were dominant again, they went into a battle with a short list of must do’s that they did, and they had a hunger that may have reminded you, of, well, Stephenville.
Scoring is kind of tough to really report in scrimmage play. Would Granbury have scored had they been given possession inside the Stephenville 40 on an interception during the controlled phase?
Who knows? The Pirates wren’t able move the ball anywhere throughout the scrimmage, both the controlled phase and the somewhat-live quarter (those are never really live, by the way) to end matters, as the Stephenville defense was even more dominant than a week prior, albeit against lesser competition even with the Pirates being members of Conference 5A.
The defensive line plugged things and linebackers Zane Walker and Blu Caylor cleaned up – or simply knocked out – just about anything and everything. Even one of Granbury’s biggest plays of the night – like a 10 yard pass – couldn’t get much excitement going for the Pirates because Caylor blasted the receiver to the ground hard enough that it was the Yellow Jacket fans cheering afterward, as opposed to the spattering of folks in purple.
While Glen Rose and Gatesville sat week and certainly Granbury of this week are no Graham or Midlothian Heritage when it comes to strong 4A passing attacks, it is still noticeable how tough the Jackets have been in the secondary despite losing 2016 Associated Press Sports Editors honorable-mention all-state safety Mason Holstein. That’s not said to mean everyone wouldn’t love to have the high-IQ defensive back roaming the secondary again, just that guys like Gage Graham and others have come a long way.
Cole Pettit is a corner nobody seems to want to throw at, something I thought would wait until games to take place. But sure enough, Pettit, who has garnered some Division II recruiting attention of late – he’s a fast corner who bench presses 300 pounds, hello – was largely avoided again Friday. Granbury finally did try late, and Pettit was there with a smooth break on the ball and routine pass break up. The senior made it look easy.
That’s how the offense made everything look – easy. Blake Aragon had a short cornerback covering him who had no chance, and the senior with a pair of Division I offers made it clear from the get go.
When Tyler Schouten wasn’t throwing the ball to Aragon, it was because there were other tools in the dangerous set of offensive weaponry were also slicing through the Pirates like a knife through butter.
While the Yellow Jacket offensive line improved in a variety of ways – for the most part – what they did best was the deception at the beginning of screen passes that put Krece Nowak in space.
“With Krece, all they gotta do is give him a little crease,” said third-year Stephenville head coach Greg Winder with a chuckle. “If Krece gets a crease, we have a chance at a big play.”
Against Granbury, they had more than a chance, and they weren’t just big plays, but huge ones.
Nowak scored the opening points of the scrimmage, set up the second touchdown – by Lindsey – with a long screen and run, had another to set up a TD late in the controlled phase, and, yes, you guessed it, one more to put the Jackets in position to make it 14-0 in the “live” quarter.
About the only thing that didn’t go so well in that quarter was a missed field goal. But add up 21-0 in the controlled phase and 14-0 in the live quarter, and a field goal goes pretty much unnoticed.
it was a 35-0 beat down that felt more like the 49-to-56 point beating it could easily have been. Stephenville drove inside the 15 but came up short on a third-down completion once in the controlled phase, and then there were the points left on the field in the live quarter, when the Jackets were easily buzzing northward with the ball each time they touched it and Granbury was responding with only three plays then a punt back to the south before being driven back onto its heels again.
Stephenville was also robbed by a side judge in the live quarter when Lindsey muscled the ball away from a defender, kept his balance and stayed in bounds while braking free for a touchdown along the east sideline of Memorial Stadium. Except the ref disagreed and said he went out of bounds – Dr. Akas Siddiqui and myself had the best view of anyone in the house for that one and it was a touchdown all the way. It’s alright, it’s just a scrimmage.
Winder agreed the offensive line, despite a few hiccups early on, was a dominant force. That group certainly passes the eye test and has the right tools (more on that next week).
“They were a lot better tonight. They weren’t perfect but they got after their butts and move some people out tonight, and that was fun to see,” said Winder.
None of it was perfect, as one play depicts, well, perfectly.
I walked across the back line of the end zone and watched as Lindsey ran a corner fade against a corner who was out-athleted by a good margin. The pass form Schouten was accurate in terms of the ball floating directly to the back corner, but it was low and flopped a bit at the end, a dangerous ball in many cases. But Schouten put it where his man could get it, and Lindsey ripped it out of the sky and landed safely in bounds for the touchdown.
It wasn’t perfect Friday night, but it sure the heck was fun.
And some more fun ones could be coming this fall, on nights when the score means a whole lot more.