By BRAD KEITH
STEPHENVILLE (November 10, 2017) — The black eye that Cole Pettit said the Stephenville senior felt they were to the Stephenville football program has healed.
Now, instead of the two losing seasons leading up to their senior year, the Class of 2018 will be remembered by a gold football instead. And there could be more trophies such as that to follow in the UIL Region I-4A Division I playoffs.
That’s good fodder for our First Financial Bank First Flash following a 33-20 Stephenville (8-2, 4-0) win over Abilene Wylie (6-3, 3-1) in what ended up being the 3-4A Division I district championship game at Memorial Stadium Friday. So tonight, we look at just how the Yellow Jackets won the distort title after going 7-15 the past two seasons.
Stephenville was on a mission all year. You could see a plan, a reason, arriving motivation between each methodical step forward the Yellow Jackets took throughout the season.
Early on, head coach Greg Winder did some of the best work I’ve seen by a head coach on the gridiron around here that I’ve seen in a long time. And you know what? It had nothing to do with Xs and Os.
Winder and staff decided the team needed to be more physical, and what better time to establish a mean, downhill running, yardage gobbling physical offense than when your starting quarterback is out.
And so the offensive line and Krece Nowak gashed opponents and Stephenville go its season off to a rousing start.
Winder and staff, especially new defensive coordinator Cody Moore, ramped up the defense. They went to a 4-2-5 but that’s just the set they employed. They succeeded because the kids were tired of having 40 and more points hung on them. They set out to tackle better, to cover better to understand their assignments and execute them better. They wanted to, so they did.
Cole Pettit intercepted four passes, and after two more against Wylie no Friday so did Cody Storrs. You can d a lot of things when you can trust your cornerbacks on an island. It’s almost like you get to defend with them and 8, sometimes 9 instead of them and 7 because you don’t have to always commit your safeties to the back end.
Stephenville figured out how to defend. As physical teams who know how to defend do, the Yellow Jackets, particularly mad man Pacen Parker, began unloading on opposing quarterbacks, and, well, bass anything that moved in the backfield. They became disruptive.
And then they got their quarterback, and he was better than ever, taking care of the ball, lowering his interception count, firing to distributing to different receivers to keep defenses honest, just involving everyone around him. At the end of his senior season, with a quarterback rating through the roof and a district title under to his credit, the name Easton Jones will most certainly be added to that sacred list of great Stephenville quarterbacks. In short, Jones is dealing.
The Jackets won a district champions for all those reasons. The were driven, physical, defensive, disruptive and they were dealing.
Driven to put in the work it takes to win a title. Defensive as in giving up three touchdowns fewer per game than last year. Disruptive as in three fourth-down stops, two Storrs interceptions, sacks, tackles for loss, everything you could imagine to throw an offense off its game plan. Dealing because the ball was deal all over the field, Jones gong to Nowak, to Gage Graham, to Blake Aragon, to Kyle Lindsey, earlier in the year to clay Krause, anyone he could get involved he did.
The Jackets didn’t’ set out outthink opponents to victory, they set out to physically mash the opposition until they tapped out and were through.
And in the end, the driven, defensive, disruptive physical and always dealing Yellow jackets, were dealt their gold football.
And their seniors will no longer be remembered for 7 wins and 15 looses during what was their sophomore and junior seasons. They will remembered for tradition, for their “revenge tour,” as Pettit put it.
Revenge has been served. And Stephenville has risen back to the top.
The Yellow Jackets are now and forever will be 2017 3-4A Division DISTRICT CHAMPS.